Last years Walking with Dinosaurs series was a huge
success. The technology that had astounded millions when it
was seen on Jurassic Park had caught the publics interest.
But whereas Jurassic Park's total animation screen
time accounted for about 10 minutes of the finished film,
Walking with Dinosaurs used the technology for the
majority of the programme.
year on and the BBC's launch of Walking with Beasts was
eagerly anticipated. But how could they expect to top last
years success? According to the producers the technology has
moved on in the last year considerably and this, coupled with
more detailed animatronics for the close-ups, has led to a
more realistic feel to the show.
If you've already seen this broadcast on TV you will know
that this is not strictly the case. The technology is still
a good five years away from producing anywhere like realistic
effects. Maybe the reason it worked so well with Walking
with Dinosaurs was because the computers are pretty good
at recreating reptilian skin tones. In Walking with Beasts
there are quite a few creatures which look rather disappointing
- in particular the human ancestors from episode four.
only that, but sometimes the close up animatronic puppets
don't match up too well with the animation (again see episode
four) and on more than a few occasions when the beasts are
roaming their environments they don't seem to fit in - camera
movements and animation are not synchronized as well as they
should be! And the whole animation has a nasty Disney feel
to it in places! Ah! Look at the cute Sabre cats babies -
they seriously look like they have walked out of The Lion
to this Branagh's script which in places is too strange to
be believed (whoever wrote the line 'This is a world where
birds eat horses' should have been reprimanded).
problem I had with this is that every episode has a sex scene
and one even shows the penis of one of the beasts. While I
agree that it is important to show these scenes, like all
documentarys, after the fourth episode I was getting a little
bored of them. They don't add anything to the show and will
simply have tons of kids laughing till their sides split.
DVD extras include: Triumph Of The Beasts - 50 minute
special on the rise of the mammal; The Beasts Within
- 50 minute special on scientist's search for man's link to
apes; Beast fact files; Photo gallery; Production crew interviews;
this is still great entertainment, fans of Walking with
Dinosaurs could be forgiven for expecting more.
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