If you need another reason to hate Nazis, here it is.

It’s hard for us to imagine any creature more terrifying than the Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur. However Bigger than T. rex puts forth the discovery of Spinosaurus, one of the rarest dinosaurs to ever have existed and who just happens to be larger and more deadly than Tyrannosaurus Rex. Bigger than T. rex brings together two powerhouses, NOVA and National Geographic, to create the documentary. Thanks to the collaboration between the two there is a heightened sense of gravitas to the piece though the documentary is in no way self-important. Rather there is a joy which permeates almost every scene and it’s easy to connect with everyone involved in the project for everyone is so proud and excited to be part of it it’s quite contagious.

So Nazis. How do they play into this story? Well Spinosaurus is such a rare dinosaur that there was only one partial skeleton found in the 20th century and that was by Ernst Stromer, a German paleontologist who was actually searching for prehistoric mammals such as the woolly mammoth at the time but was smart enough to recognize the treasure he found in the Spinosaurus bones. He had these bones on display at Munich’s Natural History Museum. Unfortunately while Stromer was a strong opponent of the Nazi party his boss was a staunch ally. When Stromer asked for the bones to be moved during World War II his boss refused and it was only a short time later that an air bomb raid destroyed the entire museum, including the dinosaur bones. So for over 100 years paleontologists could only rely on pictures of Stromer’s skeleton as they tried to find their own bones to hopefully complete as much of a skeleton as possible. And the champion behind reintroducing not only Spinosaurus’ but Stromer’s names into the current lexicon is Nizar Ibrahim, a paleontologist out of the University of Chicago who guides most of the documentary. The dedication his team of paleontologists has drives the documentary.

You will learn not only about Spinosaurus but more about paleontology itself. For instance I did not know just how much weight a bone’s provenance carried with it. It was always an abstract concept to me that where you find the bones can tell you just as much as the bones themselves but this documentary really helps educate the layperson about how paleontologists learn about dinosaurs. Especially with Jurassic World due to come out later in 2015 dinosaur fever is about to sweep the pop culture landscape and Bigger than T. rex not only fits right in but is actual science to boot, a win-win.

The video is a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer which relies heavily on CGI and thus has more tweaking done to the transfer than other documentaries would. The result is a clean, technically sound picture without issues. The audio is likewise a solid Dolby Digital 2.0 track which blends the elements well. Neither audio nor visual elements will cause problems for you.

THE VERDICT

I’m a fan of NOVA and of National Geographic so finding out that the two documentary giants teamed up for this release only made me that much happier. It’s easy for me to recommend this and if you have any kind of dinosaur lover inside you then you’re sure to appreciate this documentary is well. Not guilty.

 

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