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4.3 out of 5 stars
Planet Dinosaur
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
If you loved the original Walking With Dinosaurs series (and I still do!), you must see this. Like WWD, it's almost all dino-animation; very little interruption - and when the flow is broken, it's to explain the scientific reasoning that supports the (sometimes surprising) conclusions. And while WWD's animation was excellent for its time, this show demonstrates the improvements possible with 2012 technology.

If you were disappointed by Jurassic Fight Club (and I was!), this is everything JFC wasn't. No repetition of video sequences, and best of all, no annoying George Blasing (sorry, George).

I see a lot of reviews for dinosaur shows that begin with something like, "My 5-year-old grandson is crazy for dinosaurs, so I bought him this..." Well, maybe you think dinosaurs are a phase that you're supposed to grow out of, but not all of us think like that. And the BBC, with "Walking With Dinosaurs" and this show, Planet Dinosaur, acknowledges this fact. This is NOT a kiddie show. This is aimed at an adult, very sophisticated audience, and it shows.

The visuals here are beautiful, and often stunning. The animation is so lifelike it must be seen to be believed. The effects are amazing - my favorite may be the running raid on a Centrosaur herd by a group of Daspletosaurs, driving them into a flooding river -- in a thunderstorm.

As someone mentioned, many animals make their animated debuts in this series, and they're worth the wait. Don't confuse Planet Dinosaur with "Dinosaur Planet"; that was good, but this is far, far better.

One earlier review complained about the constant "drumbeat" of eating and killing, that dinosaurs are portrayed as mindless eating machines. Well, unless you read different science books than I do, I have to say that's pretty much what they were, and what most animals still are. When they're not sleeping or breeding, most animals are either eating, trying to kill another animal, or trying not to be killed. I'm not sure what more the other reviewer expected, because watching dinos sleep makes a pretty slow-moving video.

Still, it's true that the predation is realistic, graphic, and relentless, and might be scary (or "gross") for very young viewers. If you're buying dinosaur shows for your grandchildren, this might not be the best choice. For a proverbial dino-crazed 5-year-old, I recommend Disney's "Dinosaur" movie, or PBS' excellent "Dinosaur Train" series (which actually has good science and a real scientist).

For the adult dinosaur enthusiast, though, and with all respect to Walking With Dinosaurs (a classic, and still one of my favorites) if you only have room for one dino DVD on your shelf, this is the one to buy.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
I bought both the Blu Ray and DVD versions of this series. It is one of the best dinosaur shows yet to be produced. The effects were spectacular and the realism is yet another level, as technology allows for increased detail and even the superfluous, background is completely realistic. The chosen dinosaurs are some of the most desirable for a paleo / dino fan. Also this series is fine for younger viewers, as there is not too much extreme violence. While this may be disappointing to many viewers (as full out battle scenes are great), it makes it appropriate for all ages, while not automatically being lame because of this. They have found the perfect balance between the action most of us crave and the interesting and entertaining scenes devoid of violence.
I could not recommend this DVD series more highly.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2012
Planet Dinosaur is a very good documentary, in a six episode format a la Walking With Dinosaurs, covering some of the most important finds of the last 20 or so years.

The first episode covers the three superpredators of Mid Cretaceous Africa - Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus and the crocodilian Sarcosuchus (a/k/a SuperCroc), which remarkably coexisted together. The second episode covers some of the more important feathered dinosaurs of Asia which have changed the way we look at dinosaurs. The third episode profiles Daspletosaurus and Majungasaurus as representatives of the two major predator groups that dominated the Late Cretaceous worldwide. Episode four takes a look at two Jurassic predators - the sea monster Predator X and the domination of Allosaurus by it's less prolific but larger relative Saurophaganax (stay tuned for further scientific news regarding whether or not it's actually not a separate species but rather an oversized Allosaurus). Episode 5 profiles the sauropods Argentinosaurus and Paralititan, two contenders for the largest dinosaur ever found. The series wraps up jumping around to examine several lesser known dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous.

There are a few instances where the CGI seemed evident to me, but all in all there were alot of quite memorable images. A few of the dinosaurs have already been covered in other documentaries, but there are also a few long overdue debuts. Camptosaurus, a mid-sized herbivore which appeared in almost every kid's dino book back in the day but is probably not quite as well known by today's kids, finally shows up after having been inexplicably omitted from Walking With's Jurassic episode and Allosaurus spinoff. Chasmosaurus, my choice for the most beautiful horned dinosaur, makes a full appearance after having only shown up, to my knowledge, in a brief section of the Bizarre Dinosaurs special covering Ceratopsian headgear. The highlight of the set might be the elegant potential death race (flight?) between China's Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus, a surprisingly creepy and nasty little predator.

A must have for any dino fan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
Bought this for my two sons (5 and 9), who both really like dinosaurs. They were not disappointed! My wife found it too graphic in the depiction of predators' meal time: a good indication that boys will find it awesome! Very well done, good CGI, good narration. It keeps your interest up for the 30 min it lasts. One can learn from it while being entertained!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
For the record, this Blu-Ray will play on American BR players. I played it on a JVC player that is about 2 and 1/2 years old, and it played with no problems. I previously tried playing it in a Samsung player, and it would not play past the main menu. However, when I did a firmware update, it played. And my copy was ordered months before it was available on the American Amazon.com through Amazon.co.uk.
As far as the product itself, the quality is great, and it is an enjoyable program. One of the better dino-related "documentaries" out there since it focuses very heavily on more recent scientific discoveries.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
BBC made this series more than a decade after their Walking with Dinosaurs series. Compared to Walking with Dinosaurs, this newer series incorporated research findings in the past ten years. The visual effect on the Blu-ray Discs are very sharp, much more clearer than Walking with Dinosaurs. However, since this series is completely made with CGI, it does not have the real environmental shots as in the Walking with Dinosaurs. The production cost of this series was 1/3 of that of Walking with Dinosaurs for the same reason. My only complaint about the visual is that at times the dinosaurs look pretty rubbery, almost toyish. But overall, the visual is still stunning.

This series has research snippets embedded in the the presentation, so much more educational. You know why the scientists reached certain conclusions and what was pure speculation.

The series does NOT play in many of the US Bluray players. I bought the same bluray discs from Amazon UK site for 1/3 of the price on Amazon US site (including shipping from UK to US). On Amazon UK site, the discs are claimed to be region free. But it also says Please note that this product will not play on US spec 60i Blu-ray players as the Blu-ray discs are authored to UK 50i specs. As many customers mentioned on the UK site, they only play in European or Region Free bluray players. I have three bluray players bought in US: two Sonys and one LG. Only the LG player can play the featured presentation on the first disc. The second disc which contains special features cannot be played in any of my bluray players.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
The BBC's latest dinosaur documentary was all the talk among many of you when it was announced, even though we couldn't watch it here in America. (luckily we had "Dinosaur Revolution" to watch here in the US at the same time) Now you can watch it; well, sort of.
Planet Dinosaur is an almost three hour Blu-Ray disc showing all six episodes from the BBC series special. Narrated by John Hurt, the CG graphics are extremely well done. I know its an over-used word but I thought several scenes were truly awesome. In between the CG action scenes, we are shown various graphics and fossilized bones that tell us stories about the dinosaur's fights and their lives. The show provides some great, very up-to-date information; some of which, I dare say, you did not know. The first episode is set in prehistoric Africa, where we follow a Spinosaurus and meet Carcharodontosaurus, Ouranosaurus, Sarchosuchus, Rugops and more. The second episode is all about the feathered dinosaurs of China. Episode 3 covers the Late Cretaceous and the meat-eaters of that era. Part 4 is set in the Jurassic where we watch not only stegosaurs and allosaurs but marine reptiles too, including the huge Predator X. (It's a funny term, so I was surprised to hear John Hurt seriously use the word "Thagomizer" to describe Stegosaurus spikes.) The fifth episode is mostly about sauropods and other large dinosaurs and the final episode shows various dinosaur forms that evolved to help dinosaurs survive. I highly recommend the show; but, as mentioned at the beginning of this review there is a possible problem. The Blu-Ray would not play on my Blu-Ray player, even though it is supposedly for all areas of the world. I have a new laptop that plays Blu-Ray movies and fortunately it did fine on it. I also understand you can update your Blu-Ray player to where it will play foreign discs, but you have been forewarned. Check before you buy this DVD. However, I give it all five stars.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
The product was purchased by me on april 28th and it seemed to be fine, until I put in my PS3.Honestly im a little ticked the disc was said to be an "ALL REGION" format ,but when I received the product it said it was only "REGIONS 2&4".Now being in a REGION 1 area you can see where a REGION 2 and REGION 4 blu-ray can be a problem for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2014
I bought this as an educational video for elementary age students. They love it. I love it. The animation is fantastic, the narration is top-notch. This is not hard-edge science, but something more entertaining and inspirational—great for younger enthusiasts.
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on May 4, 2015
"We are living in the golden age of Dinosaur discovery," intones the narrator at the beginning of "Planet Dinosaur." Then, in this series of shows, he demonstrates that, that is not an exaggeration: It is the honest truth. The creatures detailed here from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous are phenomenally fascinating, and they hold the attention of the viewer every second that they are on screen.

The CGI in this series is some of the best that I have ever seen in a nature documentary. There are times when one may as well be watching a BBC series on animals' living today with a narrator's telling of their life histories and dynamic interactions with other species. Cut in with the CGI are graphic glyphs that tell of the geological time, place and date of discovery of the fossils that form the basis of the creatures created herein. The computer images and the science behind them are absolutely first rate.

My copy of this DVD is one that I ordered from Amazon UK, and it is in PAL Region 2 format. As I have an all-regions DVD player, I can play it with no difficulties. The British version comprises two DVD's. I believe that the American version comprises the first British DVD with the second one's being omitted.

The first DVD comprises six episodes: Lost World, Feathered Dragons, Last Killers, Fight for Life, New Giants and The Great Survivors. The second DVD comprises a background feature, "How to Build a Dinosaur," that elucidates how the study of the fossils leads to the reconstruction of the dinosaurs that we see in museums and in films. It is hosted by one of Britain's best known presenters the very smart and attractive Dr. Alice Roberts.

In the first DVD, the series moves from Africa to China to the Lost Islands of Europe with their shallow, surrounding seas to the deeper oceans to North America and South America to the High Arctic to Madagascar. It is a world-wide exploration of dinosaur species, especially the new ones which have only recently been unearthed. Amongst some of those that have aroused the strong interest of the public are Africa's Spinosaurus with its huge back frill and the latest discoveries from the East.

"One country sits at the centre of a new Dinosaur revolution: China," says the narrator at the beginning of "Feathered Dragons." This is so very true. From a slight trickle of fossils with evidence of feathers, a flood has descended upon us. New feathered dinosaurs are constantly being brought to light. From the impressions of their feathers, it can be determined whether they were for display, warmth or flight. In some case, even the colours are known. The connection between birds and certain groups of Dinosaurs with a common ancestor's lying somewhere back in history is now irrefutable.

One of the great examples of parallel evolution is shown in the "Feathered Dragons" segment. A small, feathered Dinosaur with body feathers and large tail feathers for display, also, has large, gnawing, front teeth and and elongated fingers for prying out grubs and insects from trees. It is the reptilian, ecological equivalent of today's Aye-Aye in Madagascar. The huge evidence of evolution in Dinosaurs demonstrates the enormous genius of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. The rules and laws of evolution developed by Darwin and Wallace do not just apply to the the animals of their day and today: They apply to Dinosaurs, too.

This is a superlative show. It will entertain and inform not just youngsters, but, also, adults, too. This is a show well worth having in one's DVD library.

Ron's Grade: A+
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