Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (DVD)

“Nature never stops changing.”

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? People’s fascination with the giant dinos that once ruled our planet will probably never fade. Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia, originally created for IMAX 3-D theaters, is a 40-minute movie that combines CGI dinosaur action with the latest scientific facts about what they might have been like.

The bulk of the movie takes place in Patagonia, a part of Argentina, where we are introduced to two dinosaurs, one a two-legged predator and the other a four-legged herbivore, leading up to their eventual confrontation. Meanwhile, in the modern day, we get glimpses of real paleontological digs and thoughts from a real paleontologist about his work and his love of all things dinosaur. Tying the whole thing together is an easygoing narration by Donald Sutherland.

The first thing you should know is that the movie is all about 3-D, with “stuff coming at you” shots about every other second. This DVD, however, has no 3-D option. As a result, all you can think is while watching, “Oh, this part was meant to look like it’s right in front of me.” The CGI is not as lifelike as you’d expect for a big IMAX project, with the dinosaurs looking more plastic than reptilian. Could that be the result of 2-D versus 3-D?

Fortunately, 3-D does not a movie make. There’s a lot to enjoy here, simply because dinosaurs are cool. We get to see dinos not normally depicted in movies, such as the Argentinosaurus and the Giganotosaurus. Although the flick is heavy on visuals and light on facts, there are a few interesting science tidbits, notably about the size of the creatures and their behavior. The paleontology half of the movie isn’t as gripping, expectedly, but it has its moments, especially during the beautiful sweeping overhead shots of the Argentinean wilderness.

The picture quality is spotless, no surprise considering the IMAX pedigree. The sound is flat-out excellent, with dinosaur footsteps and roars booming out of all five speakers with a near-perfect balance. The lone extra is a featurette, “The Lizard King,” which repeats a lot of the same material as the movie, but also demonstrates the impressive tech that is an IMAX camera.

Overall, the movie is a bite-sized piece of dinosaur animation and trivia. It’s amusing enough to watch, but there are bound to be better, more substantial dino documentaries out there for your dollar.

The Verdict


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