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HTF BLU-RAY Review: Dinosaurs Alive!

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#1 of 1 Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss


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  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted October 25 2009 - 09:00 AM

Dinosaurs Alive!  follows enthusiastic paleontologists to some mesmerizing locations, including the dunes of the Gobi Desert, and the fossil rich New Mexican hills, where these incredibly talented individuals search and uncover the fossilized remains of creatures that walked, and in some cases dominated, the land millions and millions of years before humanity took hold on the planet. The mere idea of Dinosaurs is a magnificent one, filled with incredible possibilities, history, revelation, and wonder. The story of the paleontologists is partnered with the story of the creatures they uncover; how these dinosaurs may have lived, bred, and behaved. The story of several particular dinosaurs are told, imagined through the technical marvel of computer generated imagery (CGI), showing us how they may have met their end to have been so quickly killed and preserved all those millions of years ago to be kept enough for the paleontologists to discover them in our time.
The main selling point of this feature, filmed specifically for exhibition in IMAX theaters, is the C.G.I recreations of the dinosaurs themselves – and that is the source for the greatest disappointment. Perhaps in 3-D, as it was presented when in IMAX theaters, it would have been more impressive, but in 2D, its weaknesses can be seen. While the clarity and quality of the recreations are a fine accomplishment, something is amiss in how these creatures are moved about within the frame, and within the confines of the story. The sight of the scale model dinosaur, replete with full skeletal structure, walking against a black background allowing us to see how the bones and joints would naturally have moved (thereby presenting evidence of how they would have stood, walked, run, and hunted) is stunning visually, and stimulating intellectually. But when these remarkable creatures are interacting against natural backgrounds, in the sandy dunes of what became the Gobi Desert, or the once tropical location of what is now the dust of New Mexico, the final product is uneven. Despite being beautifully rendered, the movement is not smooth, and as such, pulls us out of the moment.