gif: planet dinosaur

Let’s Not Forget...

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is kick-ass.

Dinosaur is great.

Brother Bear is fun.

The Emperor’s New Groove is hilarious.

Lilo & Stitch is amazing.

Meet the Robinsons is touching.

And Treasure Planet is awesome.

Disney made some pretty great films in the 2000s too.

7

So part of what got it in my head that it was time to rewatch WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (1999, Dir. Tim Haines & Jasper James) was honestly all of last week's​ posts about Disney’s DINOSAUR (2000, Dir. Ralph Zondag & Eric Leighton) and how similar the two are. Both were long gestating projects deemed financially undoable but which were finally brought to fruition as a result of the success of JURASSIC PARK (1993, Dir. Steven Spielberg). Both touted their use of life-like CGI dinosaurs composited into live-action photographed environments and both were a massive success as well as, in many ways, the final crescendo of 90s Dino-Mania (though you could reserve that distinction for JURASSIC PARK III [2001, Dir. Joe Johnson] too).

Of course WALKING WITH DINOSAURS and DINOSAUR are also very different productions too. After all one is a documentary, a work of non-fiction, while the other is a theatrical film, a work of fiction. Different. Right? Well not so fast… The line which separates dinosaur movie from dinosaur documentary isn’t always so clear.

Sure some productions like PLANET DINOSAUR (2011, Dir. Nigel Paterson) - often referred to as the thematic successor of 1999’s WALKING - is unquestionably a documentary. It may feature scenes of CGI dinosaurs tearing about but these are primarily illustrative with the bulk of the program actually dominated by paleontologists talking shop. In contrast programs like MARCH OF THE DINOSAURS (2011, Dir. Matthew Thompson) and DINOTASIA (2012, Dir. David Krentz) are attempts to tell a story about dinosaurs first and educate second. That puts them closer to films like Disney’s DINOSAUR or, more to the point, 2013’s WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (Dir. Neil Nightingale & Barry Cook). Of course, one might argue that it is the anthropomorphization of the dinosaurs in the later two films that truly separates them from that of a documentary but remember both Disney’s DINOSAUR and the 2013 WALKING WITH DINOSAURS film were originally conceived as completely silent and only had voices added to their dinosaurs later. Also anthropomorphization is not only achieved through speech. DINOTASIA doesn’t have a single talking dinosaur and yet has often been (unfairly, IMO) criticized for exaggerating its animal’s body language to human-like levels. And ultimately I would contend that it is actually impossible for any story about non-human animals told by humans to not feature some degree of anthropomorphization.

But anyway, the question here is, on what side of the spectrum does 1999’s WALKING WITH DINOSAURS fall? Is it closer to its 2013 theatrical decendent or its 2011 successor PLANET DINOSAUR?

In what I’m sure will be an anticlimactic answer for many, I think it’s neither. While WALKING ‘99 doesn’t feature any paleontological talking heads and Kenneth Branagh - despite his near incessant narration - relays little in the way of pure scientific evidence to viewers, neither does the show feature anything in the way of a real narrative - with the sole exception of Ep. 4 “Giant of the Sky” which does tell a fairly complete story about an aged Ornithocheirus’ last trek to its ancestral mating grounds. Otherwise, WALKING ‘99 just features various scenes of different animals doing random things. And while these scenes as a whole are great they don’t actually make-up a story, though they certainly helped to lay the groundwork for later programs and films which would.

I’m watching BBC’s Planet Dinosaur on iPlayer.

And they’ve been talking about this dinosaur that was supposedly larger than Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’m more than interested in this killer. 

It’s called Spinosaurus, I have just heard.

IT’S SPINY! (Spino, for the Japanese).

Now I want to watch Dinosaur King and compare his size to Terry, seeing as Spiny’s now meant to be the larger of the two. 

youtube

Spinosaurus fishes for prey - Planet Dinosaur - BBC

youtube

Planet Dinosaur - “Fight For Life” (Part ½) (Part 2/2 here)