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Walking With Prehistoric Beasts

4.4 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Imagine a National Geographic survey of a natural world that hasn't existed for millions of years. The sequel to the mesmerizing Walking with Dinosaurs, one of the most imaginative explorations of the prehistoric world ever made, once again uses the technology of the Jurassic Park fantasies to re-create the "menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures" that roamed the globe after the dinosaurs. Designed as a series of survival dramas, each of the six episodes plays like a speculative Disney True Life Adventure (with appropriately resolute narration by Kenneth Branagh) centered around a day in the life of a creature or the seasonal cycle of a species: a pride of saber tooth cats, a herd of woolly mammoths, a tribe of hominids. It's all supposition, of course, but it's supposition based on the best research available. The BBC production, which does not shy away from this violent world, includes computer-animated footage of mating and hunting techniques. However, any prehistory fan 7 or older should enjoy this series. --Sean Axmaker

Additional Features

Don't get hung up on the "Making of" appellation branded onto the documentaries Triumph of the Beasts and The Beasts Within. These 50-minute productions are less about getting it made than getting it right; they explain the science and speculation behind the production. Scientists share their discoveries, offer their theories, and show off fossils in an effort to explain what we know of the distant past and how we know it. A supplemental "fact file" provides thumbnail profiles on every creature featured in the series, and a photo gallery offers a second look at the beasties. For those viewers more interested in the how than the why, there are six animated storyboard galleries and 23 minutes of interviews with the producers and animators. It's a perfect companion for the program, serious enough to tackle the issues of scientific speculation and spiked with a little humor just to keep it fun. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Stockard Channing, Larry Agenbroad, Frank Fish, Larry Witmer
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005U2KN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,626 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walking With Prehistoric Beasts" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
WOW!! This is one of the most amazing documentaries on prehistoric life I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of documentaries on prehistoric life)!
Walking With Prehistoric Beasts starts off 50 million years ago, just a few million years after the extincion of the dinosaurs. In the beginning of the show, the narrator introduces the small mammal called Leptictidium, a swift six foot tall bird called Gastronis, and other beasts. after on, the documentary shows a primitive whale that was 30 tons and four times the length of a great white shark, the planet's largest predatory land mammal (which is interestingly enough related to ungulates like sheep and goats), a two story tall rhino which was the largest land mammal ever on earth, a nasty scavenging hog (one of the most fearsome and ugly creatures in the show), and several other weird, fearsome, and magnificent beasts that once ruled the earth. Later in the documentary, the ice age comes, as well as an amazing and somewhat hairless ape... Man.
I could go on and on talking about this show, but I won't :-). Let me sumarise this amazing five star documentary to you, the reader, in three words: BUY IT NOW!!
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Format: DVD
The Walking with Dinosaurs team could probably have contented itself with producing spinoffs for a long time. They made one special -- "Allosaurus" -- which basically seems to be a seventh episode that didn't get included in the earlier series. If they went on producing half-hour dinosaur shows for years, they'd have had me for an audience.
They didn't do that, though. Instead they traded on their success with dinos to make this great series about prehistoric animals after the dinosaurs. One of the producers mentions, in the "making of" documentary on disk two, that they knew they'd have to do the dinosaurs first because those were popular enough to draw money and attention. They seem to have made "Beasts" because they were just plain interested. Thank goodness someone's letting curiosity drive the work, you know?
This series works a lot like "Walking with Dinosaurs" did. There are six episodes, and each one's a storyline involving a particular species of animal and the world in which it lives. There's no "talking head" side to these shows; they're nonstop film of the (animated) animals living in their worlds, without other graphics. Kenneth Branagh narrates them very much like any other animal documentary, only you're seeing reconstructions of extinct animals instead of lions or elephants. The camera work is skilfully made to work like shots from modern nature shows, with a few minor conceits from the cgi animators thrown in for fun.
The "Walking" team really raised the bar for themselves here, though. First, for some reason prehistoric mammals don't knock people out the way dinosaurs do. A couple of years ago a Japanese team announced it was trying to produce a real, live mammoth, but nobody's making movies in which a series of ...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
and the Woolly Mammoth. But how about the Leptictidium? A tiny early mammal. A tiny meat eater the size of a cat, who has to keep clear of the top predator of her time, the Gastornis, a flightless bird as big as a man and just as hungry!
Or how about the Andrewsarchus, a five meter long wolf-like creature with bone crunching jaws over three feet long and related to the whale. In fact it BECAME the whales!
This is a two DVD set. The first holds six amazing episodes about six different periods of Earth's history, from right after the death of the dinosaurs to just before man starts to rule the planet. The second holds lots of fun extras: interviews, TWO 50 minute long behind-the-scene featurettes, photos, fact files and even storyboards.
Really helps fill in that space between dinosaurs and us. A must for any DVD library!
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Format: DVD
When people think of Earth's past, it is usually the dinosaur age of which they think. They tend to forget the fact that the Earth has a huge history of which that Age was only a small part. This encompasses that portion of history often glossed over in favor of the rise of humans, and the very strange and fascinating creatures that existed even before we arrived and existed with us for a time before going extinct. While we might remember the Wooly Mammoth, the Cave Bear and the Saber-toothed Cat, We don't remember the Hyenadon or the Intelidont, or the Gastornis, the monster bird that ate early horses. This is a trip into a topsy turvey world that is strangely fascinating and fills in that gap between the Dinosaurs-and us.
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By Xam on February 13, 2002
Format: DVD
Another simply amazing documentary series from the BBC. This one definitely lives up to its predecessor- Walking with Dinosaurs, which was the first series to combine breathtaking digital effects with great scientific research and analysis, to create a lost world of creatures and times long gone. Walking with Prehistoric Beasts is actually just a continuation of where Walking with Dinosaurs left off, it begins right after the massive dinosaur extinction and ends during the ice age and the dawn of man. It looks mainly at the rise of mammals and the changing environment and earth. Some of the highlights of the series include: the first whales that actually walked on land, flightless carnivorous birds which were descendants of the dinosaurs, packs of saber-tooth cats killing and mating, huge pig like creatures that bully other carnivores, the first apes to walk on two legs, elephant ancestors that are four times bigger and really angry, herds of wooly mammoths, and much much more. And the computer graphics in this series may even rival that of Walking with Dinosaurs. The scenes and animals almost always look breathtaking and incredibly natural. Sometimes it was seriously hard to believe that these weren't real living animals. And all the sound effects matched everything perfectly, bringing it all to life. Also the music score is terrific, it really takes you on a great auditory journey along with the superb visuals. This series has brought to life a world that you could only imagine before and it does it with serious style, just like its predecessor.
The 6 episode series alone packs a serious punch, but the DVD includes two 50-minute behind-the-scenes featurettes, along with some other goodies.
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