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When Dinosaurs Roamed America (2001)

John Goodman  |  NR |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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When Dinosaurs Roamed America + Discovery Essential Dinosaur Pack
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Goodman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Family Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MKL5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,204 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • 2 Behind-The-Scenes Shorts
  • Dinosaur Facts
  • Dinosaur Quiz
  • Photo Gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Take a journey back to prehistoric America when mighty dinosaurs ruled the continent. From New York to New Mexico, these powerful animals lived, hunted and died in the very place you call home. Watch millions of years of violent evolution unfold before your eyes. By combining state-of-the-art computer animation with beautiful live-action landscapes, you’ll witness these fearsome creatures roar to life. Faster, stronger and fiercer than ever, these dinosaurs are based on the most recent and scientifically accurate research ever assembled. Faithfully recreated, these dinosaurs move, look and sound like you’ve gone back in time. You’ll meet the never-before-seen Zuniceratops, a uniquely North American creature that was first of its kind to have horns over its eyes. You’ll also visit all your favorites including the T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus and the ferocious Raptor, with a startling new appearance that’ ll surprise you. You won’t see more authentic and terrifying dinosaurs anywhere...except buried in your own backyard.

For dino lovers of all stripes, this Discovery Channel special delivers an entertaining documentary about what it was like to live in the land of giants. Combining nature photography and computer graphics, the program brings the dinosaurs--all of which lived on the North American continent of yore--to life. The 90-minute showcase explores dinosaurs with a narrative-story style similar to that used in BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs. The program includes quick, informative bits by paleontologists in the field, and shows nifty 3-D cross-sections of a dinosaur muscle and skeleton structures. Although it's quite fun to see what prehistoric America may have looked like (a typical opening slide: "Philadelphia, 300 million years ago"), the film doesn't have the technical expertise or fluidity of its BBC successor. Due to some dinosaur chomping, this program is not suited for children younger than 8. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I'd love to be writing a gushing review about this DVD. I was certainly looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it suffers on two fronts. First, the CGI is at least a generation behind that shown in Walking With Dinosaurs. The character models are stiffer, less detailed, and show none of the realistic motion of skin and muscle that made the WWD animation so lifelike.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this presentation has been considerably "dumbed down" -- even at the risk of making the science fuzzy and inaccurate. If you've seen the Discovery Channel presentation of Walking With Dinosaurs vs. the DVD, you'll know just how horrid a job was done in the editing room when moving the presentation to Discovery. This DVD shows the same dead hand at the switch. It displays no faith in the viewers to do more than watch the pretty pictures.
Certainly better than anything we would have seen ten years ago, but not as good as what can be done today. It simply lacks the loving care and interest in the subject shown by the WWD specials.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not up to Walking with Dinosaurs September 24, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Five years ago, I probably would have given When Dinosaurs Roamed America a rave review. It is a good dinosaur special, well done overall and with interesting effects. But in the post-Walking with Dinosaurs era, it's a bit of a letdown. The animation is not as good, nor is the writing as sharp.

One other note: John Goodman is really not up the level of either Kenneth Branaugh (British version of Walking with Dinosaurs as well as the DVD version) or Avery Brooks (the version of Walking With Dinosaurs shown on the Discovery Channel). The latter two treat it as a serious nature special. Goodman's narration makes it sound like he's narrating a children's TV special, not a nature special.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good presentation, narration needed work September 25, 2001
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A very interesting and fun American follow-up to the BBC's WALKING WITH DINOSAURS series, this presentation follows the practice of usnig CGI to present dinosaurs as they may have actually looked, moved, hunted, and reproduced. This series has certain advantages over the WWD series in that it tends to focus on dinosaurs that the average person will have heard of (triceratops) while WWD tended to focus on lesser-known dinosars (torosaurus). The only flaws in this design are the harshness of the CGI, occasionally glaringly not part of the landscape, and the narration of John Goodman. While Mr. Goodman has a great voice, he sounds bored to tears by the narration and it can occasionally distract from the visuals.
Also, as with WWD, be aware that these visuals are all built on THEORIES and may contradict your assumptions and major theories in the effort to provide interesting dinosaurs on-screen.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Dino Movies August 20, 2001
By Erin
I absolutely loved "Walking With Dinosaurs." While this DVD isn't as good as that set it still is a great DVD. It has a very similar feel (like a Natural Geographic Special). The graphics are excellent but not as good as WWD. In some areas you can find imperfections. I like that they found some really interesting new locations; new woods that look like they were in the dinosaur times.
The naration is one of the bigger detractors from the film. John Goodman? Come on? Why? Because he was in the Flinstones? Not even close to the standard set in WWD.
There was some re-use of backgrounds and animations of some scenes which made me say, "hey, I saw that already, all they did was mirror the scene."
The pacing was perfect and the few but insightful palentologist comments were well done. The length was good. Another good thing was that there were some new dinosaurs in this DVD that we haven't previously seen.
Overall, the DVD is great, offered new info, showed dinos with feathers, and continued the trend started by WWD. I highly recommend it for any audience. Also the price is right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but... May 20, 2002
... it is nearly impossible to look at this feature, without comparing its quality to that of 'Walking with Dinosaurs'. It is very similar in style, delivered like a modern-day wildlife documentary, but it jumps around a lot. The CG graphics and animation are not quite of the same calibur of WWD, as well. Very rarely did the creatures seem to interact with their real-life environment. They often looked like they were just dropped into it, or stuck on like those old colorforms decals on a cardboard background. Where the lack of detail was most obvious is when the dinosaurs eat. The plant-eaters were the most awkward to watch, mainly because of the same lack of interatction with the environment. The meat eaters rarely had any flesh in their mouths. To see the animals 'chewing' and making other eating movements, but not actually be *eating* anything made it look silly and almost unprofessional.
But this DVD isn't all bad. It was well paced and still interesting. Some of the interpretations of the dinosaurs themselves were good. T-Rex as a family pack hunter? Interesting. Some of the designs for the dinosaurs were quite cool too. Some of them looked a little cartoonish for my tastes, but I have to admit that the feathered dinosaurs were well done.
Certainly, it isn't nearly as impressive as Walking With Dinosaurs, but it also isn't as expensive as Walking With Dinosaurs. It is a good watch for the price.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars When Dinosaurs Roamed My Childhood
I owned this as a kid on VHS, and I loved it. Now I get to enjoy it again on DVD thanks to your help!
Published 9 months ago by Preston
4.0 out of 5 stars "Walking with Dinosaurs" and their Ancestors across America is still a...
Even among admirers of "When Dinosaurs Roamed America" (hereafter WDRA), there is a reluctant admission that this BBC-production prehistoric animal follow-up is not quite up to the... Read more
Published on May 25, 2012 by John Panagopoulos
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Documentary, Bad Narration
Overall, the information was pretty good. Compared to other, more modern, dino-documentaries, the CG is a little rough, especially when it comes to merging the animations with live... Read more
Published on March 11, 2010 by Ashley Lake
5.0 out of 5 stars Love those dinosaurs
I enjoyed this DVD. I also enjoyed John Goodman"s voice. I sometimes watch with sub-titles so I can learn to pronounce names. I see no problems with his pronounciations. Read more
Published on November 19, 2009 by pokey-at-home
4.0 out of 5 stars Roaming dinosaurs
Great dvd to buy. Goodman is excellent at telling this story. Would of been 5 stars if some of the graphics looked better, but still fun to watch
Published on November 25, 2008 by S. Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining
i enjoyed this DVD very much. i have been watching dinosaur productions over forty years now and i find that this new batch is absolutely amazing. Read more
Published on March 24, 2007 by Frank Gallagher

Published on May 9, 2006 by Heather L. Parisi
4.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better, But Not Much
This was an exellent movie though it could have been better. Some people say that John Goodman sounds really bored, but I just care about the facts. Read more
Published on April 21, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Dinos American Style
I thought this was better than Walking With Dinosaurs for the following reasons: 1: All CG Dinos of reasonable quality as opposed to fantastic CG dinos and TERRIBLE hand puppets,... Read more
Published on April 9, 2006 by Nick Spreitzer
3.0 out of 5 stars Inane and Sometimes Cartoonish but Otherwise Inoffensive
The subject of this program is a shallow survey of the great age of dinosaurs in North America. It begins with the Triassic and proceeds through the Cretaceous and a few types are... Read more
Published on March 1, 2006 by John A Lee III
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