One would think that someone who does Shakespeare well should be able to get a nature show narration right, but it's obvious that paleozoology isn't Kenneth Branagh's passion, and both here and in Walking with Dinosaurs one sometimes hears that he is reading a badly-rehearsed (and occasionally poorly-written) script. Sir David Attenborough with his authority and enthusiasm would have been perfect for the job, and I was a bit surprised that such a major BBC fronting didn't feature his legendary voice and employed his singular talent in writing nature show narrations.
That aside, I enjoyed it both visually and from the educational point of view, even more so than Walking with Dinosaurs as this is a period of time that we, due to the dino craze, have heard far too little about in the major public channels before (would a film called Eocene Park be a great hit?).
I particularly enjoyed learning more about the origin of whales with the incorporation of the recent fossil findings of the ambulocetus.
The narrator does an excellent job of describing each era, the animal life, the flora and fauna, and the climate change and how it impacts the animal populace. Creatures spring to life on the screen eating, drinking, fighting, dying, and yes even (mating).
Caveats: First: I wish the documentary had gone into a bit more detail with early homo sapiens and Neanderthals. I felt the impact of these early humans on their environment wasn't fully explored. Second: About the only scenes I saw where the animation was left than perfect, was where/when the animals fed. The chewing and eating motions didn't seem quite right. The early chimp-like humans were picking nits. But the nits never seemed to quite make it INTO the mouths. Etc.
Finally, one word of caution, while this did not bother me, some sensitive viewers and young children, might have trouble with repeat scenes of graphic violence, and animal death. Even though its animation, it is very realistically portrayed and no punches are pulled. This is not a movie intended for young children( although mature children will love it).Read more ›