IMAX: Dinosaurs Alive! (Blu-ray)


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Rating: Not Rated

Michael Douglas as The Narrator

Special Features:
Making Of Documentary
Meet The Creatures Educational Section
Dinosaur Quiz

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish, French Language
Running Time: 39 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Join the world’s preeminent paleontologists in this eye-popping IMAX adventure as they uncover some of history’s most astonishing dinosaur finds. Travel across the exotic dunes of the Gobi Desert and along the sandstone buttes of New Mexico as scientists make brand-new discoveries about dinosaur behavior, their environments and find what could be the oldest dinosaur ever unearthed in North America. With stunningly realistic and scientifically accurate CGI, you’ll see these amazing creatures come alive…in a big way!”

“Dinosaurs Alive!” is not rated.

This movie was originally on the IMAX screen and it was in 3-D. Unfortunately, neither of those come into play when viewing it at home. Without those features helping it, this is a surprisingly weak documentary.

First of all, the dinosaur animation is awful. I consider “Jurassic Park” the standard when it comes to CGI dinosaurs. Unfortunately, 16 years later, this movie is nowhere near in that class. In fact, kids with animation programs on their home computers could probably do as good. It probably looked better in 3-D and on an IMAX screen. On Blu-ray and HD TV it looks pretty poor.

Next, the documentary itself is a tad dull. The animated dinosaurs aren’t in the movie all that much. A bigger feature is the paleontologists digging in the dirt and rock. Don’t get me wrong…I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid, but seeing a bunch of scientists digging in rock isn’t all that exciting for a 40 minute documentary. And then there’s a bunch of footage of the camera swooping in and around dinosaur bones. Again, great in 3-D IMAX but not that great in a 2-D home theater. The documentary does take time to highlight Roy Chapman Andrews and his expedition to Mongolia, which is cool. They note he fought raiders and was a model for Indiana Jones. What they fail to mention is he was known more for doing paleontology with dynamite and sledgehammers rather than brushes and tiny picks. It’s still one of the more entertaining portions of the 2-D experience.

Finally, there’s the choice of Michael Douglas for the narration. You’d be hard pressed to find a less polished voice for the narration. He’s not nearly as melodious as Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, or Morgan Freeman. His New York accent isn’t exactly perfect for spouting dinosaur taxonomy.

I think unless you have some sort of emotional attachment to this movie, there’s no real reason to buy this on Blu-ray. There are better dinosaur documentaries out there. Maybe when they perfect home theater 3-D it will be worth adding to your collections.

The main bonus feature is a ‘making of’ featurette that’s almost as long as the movie itself. In it we see them trekking to Mongolia and New Mexico. We also hear about the usual challenges of shooting in IMAX with the big, heavy cameras. Also among the extras are a dinosaur quiz and a “Meet the Creatures” gallery.