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Walking With Dinosaurs

Kenneth Branagh    VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)

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Dinosaurs may be extinct, but they still rule the world. When the first episode of the six-part BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs originally aired, an estimated one out of every four Britons tuned in. What they witnessed was dinosaurs brought to life, not in the modern world as in Jurassic Park, but in their original habitats millions of years ago. Revived using computer-generated effects that cost close to $5 million and sophisticated animatronic models, the dinosaurs look barely a day over 150 million years old. The creators present the series in classic nature-documentary style, complete with an authoritative narrator (Kenneth Branagh) to guide the viewer through the footage of dinosaurs mating, fighting, raising their young, grazing, or, in the case of carnivores, hunting. Each episode focuses on a theme, whether it is a particular era, such as the Mesozoic, or a particular type of dinosaur, like those that ruled the oceans. Each part also focuses in on the life of an individual dinosaur or family of dinosaurs. The result is a series of short dramas that both inform and entertain.

The show is so realistic that some scientists and viewers have criticized its seamless blending of fact and speculation. Those who wish to maintain a healthy skepticism about the theories set forth should watch the exclusive footage from The Making of Walking with Dinosaurs included on the DVD and available via mail-in on the VHS. In it, the scientists freely admit that some educated guesswork was involved and explain how they arrived at the dinosaurs' appearances and behavior. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with every detail of the re-creation, it is difficult to deny that Walking with Dinosaurs succeeds in providing dinosaur lovers with an experience that can't be matched by mere images of paleontologists and fossils.

There's an extra 15 minutes of footage on the video that wasn't broadcast on TV, much of it dinosaurs attacking each other. With the violence, plus explanations of mating, cannibalism, and other terrifying things, young kids should skip it. Dinosaur enthusiasts of age 6 and up should be fine; it's far less violent than anything from the Jurassic Park films. --Eugene Wei

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb but quite graphic Dec 28 2003
We bought this DVD for our 3 1/2 year old boy who is in the advanced stages of dinosaur obsession. He is very interested in all the particulars of each dinosaur -- names, diet, chronology, habits, etc. He was beside himself with delight when we first started watching the DVDs, literally jumping up and down yelling "Coelophysis! I love this! Diplodocus! Look, Allosaurus!"
As almost all others have mentioned, the overall production design is beyond impressive, and beggars the word "clever." Witty, thoughtful, convincing, and highly entertaining.
Unfortunately (for us), there is one dramatic trope that appears in literally every episode of this and the later "Walking With Prehistoric Beasts" series: eating babies. Sometimes creatures eat their own young for murky defensive reasons; sometimes predators pick off defenseless baby prey; sometimes territorial males eat their competitors' babies; sometimes giant ants eat cute hatchlings.
I can't fault the dramatic effect of these passages, and the continuing theme that competition is the engine of evolution is accurate and effectively presented. But it takes the air out of my little boy's enthusiasm when he constantly expects the cute baby dinosaurs to be messily devoured, and it makes me grimace to watch him watching it. Those scenes are not especially suspenseful, and don't seem to agitate him (he got a lot more anxious at "Finding Nemo"). But when his reaction to two Allosaurus eating a baby Diplodocus is "look, they're sharing!", I decided the infanticide just wasn't age-appropriate.
We put the series aside for now, and maybe we'll take it up again in a year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first "Walking With"... May 8 2004
With 230 minutes and bonus features this two disc set is a must if you enjoyed any of the other "Walking With..." series. From the very first dinosaur to to the very last, the show explores the changes to the world and evolution of the dinosaurs to keep up. Frankly, two of the shows don't even FOCUS on dinosaurs, but on the sea reptiles and the flying reptiles. It could of used more dinosaurs.
There is a 50 minute "Making Of" documentary in the second disc and about 29 minutes of behind-the-scenes picture-in-picture footage spread through-out the first disc. The behind-the-scenes footage tells you how they did the effects, why they picked certain locations and why they made the dinosaurs do what they did. Some of the behind-the-scenes footage is also shown in the "Making Of", so there is some overlap.
Interesting, but much of the information was already well known and covered by older shows or children's books. And, yes, lots of babies seem to die. A lot. THAT is nature, but maybe not something younger viewers should be exposed to in so many scenes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Epic! Feb. 7 2004
Walking with Dinosaur; is a SPECTACULAR movie featuring different kinds of dinosaurs. The movie is done in a documentary style, like those nature shows you've seen on television. They used computer animation to bring the dinosaurs to life; and let me tell you that they look incredibly realistic. The movie is broken down into a series of episodes featuring a different dinosaur in each one of them. The narrator, Mr. Kenneth Branagh (sorry if misspelled) did in excellent job and just added to the immersive story telling! I felt like a child listening to a wonderous bedtime story. I laughed at the funny parts and felt sad during the tragic parts of the stories. The movie is very long and is complimented with beautifully orchastrated classical music. The movie is about three hours long and I still wish it was longer; because that's how much I loved watching WWD! Adults and children will like it! And although dinosaur behaviors are all hypothetical, the scientists explaining their theories sound pretty valid and logical. If you enjoy nature shows or love dinosaurs, you should add this movie to your collection! Walking with Dinosaurs is a Magificent Epic!
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By Zossima
We bought this for my (almost) 5 year-old son who has already forgotten more about dinosaurs than I'll ever know. I have worked in the elearning world with programmers who make 3-D animations of industrial equipment, and I have to say I am just amazed at the quality of the work in this series. The dinosaurs just plain look like they are alive today. It looks as real as if they were shooting elephants in Africa.
* Presented in story style of real animal documentaries: Each of the six episodes follows a small number of dinosaurs for a period of time; we learn about their relationships with each other and their environmental struggles
* Animations as real (or better) than Jurassic Park
* Comprehensive focus on different periods (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) of the dinosaurs and wonderful background on the different climates and geology of these periods
Anyone, young or old, with an interest in dinosaurs should get this. There may be some parts that frighten young viewers, so parents should screen it first and be with kids during the kids' first viewing. BUT THIS IS PHENOMENALLY ENTERTAINING AND EDUCATIONAL FOR EVERYONE.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best, better, and best again!
The name says it all! "Walking with Dinosaurs" beats most other movies a million to one! The best part about this movie is the fact that it is moderatly modest, making it a... Read more
Published on July 7 2007 by Pro-reviewer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting series, great animation, mediocre narration
Walking with Dinosaurs is an interesting series for lovers of natural history. I have not seen the Discovery Channel version with Avery Brooks narrating, but only the DVD-version... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2003 by Hakon Soreide
5.0 out of 5 stars Raises the Bar for All Documentaries to Come
I saw this program when it aired on the Discovery Channel, and I loved it. Now my kids love it, too. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Citizen Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars "Diplodocus DID NOT leave their eggs?... I'M AGHAST!!!!"
After reading alot of these reviews it becomes quite clear that this series is both education AND entertainment. People have a right to there opinions. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2003 by E K Maxmias
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding Entertainment
Not so much a program as it was an event. Walking with Dinosaurs was without a doubt one of the most stunning releases to come from the BBC. Read more
Published on April 11 2003 by AxiomAlchemy
2.0 out of 5 stars A Misleading Mixture of Fact and Fantasy
Given the amount of time and money put into the production of this series (3 years and approx. $9million) you might expect that the producers would be careful to make it as... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2003 by Karl
5.0 out of 5 stars My 3 year old has rented this a dozen times! Time to buy!
My 3 year old son is a dino expert - ever since viewing Disney's Dinosaur, he's been obsessed! He loves this set because it is realistic and shows dinos in their habitats. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2002 by Jen
4.0 out of 5 stars Info-tainment at its finest
Who cares whether the science is 100% accurate?! Paleontologists don't even agree on every detail. The point is to make these creatures come alive, and convey a sense of what life... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2002 by Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking with Dinosaurs
When they said "USED, in NEW CONDTION", It Was Like New!! Was also Very Pleased With Service !!
Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Duane Causey
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