A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, although they're presented in matter-of-fact, scientific fashion, some of the dramatizations in this stunning nature documentary may be too much for younger or more sensitive kids. Dinosaurs are shown attacking and eating one another, as well as peeing and pooping. Sauropods and others are discreetly shown coupled; mating rituals and habits are discussed.
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What's the story?
Like a straightforward nature documentary, this ambitious production combines stunning photography and state-of-the-art digital effects to bring the evolution and demise of the dinosaurs to life. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, the series' six episodes chronicle the 155-million-year reign of the dinosaurs. Sites in Chile, Tasmania, New Caledonia, and elsewhere furnish natural landscapes for the realistic, digitally created creatures. The series opens with the evolution of the first known dinosaurs and proceeds through the "Time of the Titans," "Giants of the Skies," and others to the "Death of a Dynasty" 65 million years ago, when a giant meteor changed the face of the earth and brought an end to the age of reptiles.
Is it any good?
Somebody had a great idea, which was to make a documentary series about dinosaurs, but with a twist. The aging ornithocheirus on a desperate final flight to his mating grounds, the sauropod hatchlings struggling for survival in the late Jurassic, the migrating herds and the undersea life of 150 million years ago would all seem as real as a nature program about polar bears or snow monkeys. Employing the talents of the Emmy Award-winning FrameStore Group and the latest digital technology, The Discovery Channel did just that. Paleontological discoveries from fossil remains and preserved footprint groupings provide the framework; the rest is best-guess speculation and a lot of imagination.
Dinosaur lovers will see some of their favorites here, and nature lovers will get what they've come to expect from well-produced BBC programs, namely beautiful scenery and footage of large animals fighting, killing, evacuating themselves (number one and number two), mating, sleeping, and playing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the limitations of documentaries, especially those about animals we've never observed directly
What sorts of things did the filmmakers have to guess at in order to create this film? Do we really know what color dinosaurs were? Do you think this was exactly the way they walked? Sounded? Cared for their young? Fought one another?
How could you go about sorting out what's known about dinosaurs from the fiction and speculation?
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