HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Saturday, March 12, 2011


From the very first second of DINOSAURS: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA (2007), things pop, fly, and explode toward the viewer.  The "Ooh! Ahh!" effect of it all is somewhat lost watching the two-dimensional DVD version of this made-for-3D IMAX film, as I did, although it still retains much of its pictorial grandeur. 

Writer-director Marc Fafard's dinosaur documentary is filled with beautiful vistas of Argentina, where the oldest and largest dinosaur fossils have been found.  As Donald Sutherland's familiar voice lulls us into the story, we're taken back 65 million years to the point in which a comet the size of Mount Everest is about to slam into the Earth and spell doom for its inhabitants (in a scene similar to the opening of ARMAGEDDON).  We'll witness the dramatic extinction of the dinosaurs later on, but first we skip back in time even farther to the Early Cretaceous period, where we meet some of the largest animals ever to walk the face of the planet.  

The CGI used to bring these creatures to life isn't quite on the JURASSIC PARK level but it's better than most.  The film follows the progress of two main characters, Strong One the male Argentinosaurus and Long Tooth the female Giganotosaurus, throughout their lives as they search for food and struggle to survive encounters with various predators.  At one point Long Tooth and her hunting pack attack Strong One's Argentinosaurus herd but are no match for the huge beasts.  Several other species of dinosaur are seen along the way, including the ever-popular T-Rex and a flying pterosaur with a wing span of over twelve meters.

These colorful sequences help offset the dry narrative tone and the slower stretches in which we observe real-life paleontologist Rodolfo Coria at work uncovering the fossils from which much of this historical data is derived.  It's interesting stuff, of course, watching this diligent explorer about his meticulous work, but a bit of a letdown after the dinosaur scenes. 

Fafard takes his camera anywhere it can possibly go in order to capture dynamic views of Argentina's most primitive regions.  Dizzying POV shots glide slowly over the landscape, often directly into the frame.  The CGI dinosaurs are extremely well-integrated into these settings. 

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  There are no subtitles.  In addition to trailers, the bonus menu contains a documentary entitled "The Lizard King" which is equal in length to the main feature and boasts a wealth of additional dinosaur information presented in a seriocomic style. 

While the non-3D DVD of DINOSAURS: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA may seem a little, uhh..."flat" compared to its stereoscopic counterpart--especially during the parts where we're watching people dig up old bones--the visuals remain very impressive and the CGI dinosaur footage is among the best I've seen. 

Buy it at
3D Blu-Ray

No comments: