National Geographic: Sea Monsters A Prehistoric Adventure DVD Shrinkwrap Peter Gabriel


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Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (National Geographic)
Jerry Hoffman (Actor), Jennifer Aguilar (Actor), Sean MacLeod Phillips (Director) Rated: G (General Audience) Format: DVD

Journey 80 million years back in time to an age when mighty dinosaurs dominated the land—and an astonishing assortment of ferocious creatures swam, hunted, and fought for survival beneath the vast, mysterious prehistoric seas. Stunning, photo-realistic imagery re-creates the perilous underwater realm of two young, dolphin-sized marine reptiles called Dolichorhynchops, or Dollies, and follows their incredible journey through waters ruled by some of the most awesome predators ever to prowl the Earth’s oceans.

Interweaving ground-breaking fossil finds from around the globe with cutting-edge computer-generated re-creations, National Geographic’s powerful storytelling immerses you in the life-or-death drama of an age when monsters ruled the seas. With original music by Peter Gabriel and The Footnote, and narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Bonus feature: interactive timeline.

For nearly 200 million years while dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the seas teemed with some of the most awe-inspiring ocean creatures of all time. Sea Monsters, a National Geographic Giant Screen film, is an entertaining journey into prehistoric oceans. Inter-cutting between the animated story and the reenactments of fossil discoveries combine the appeal of “Indiana Jones” with the CGI that brings these prehistoric monsters to life. Perfect for the whole family.

For the child who knows the difference between a diplodocus and an apatosaurus (or for the adult who remembers a youthful obsession with dinosaurs), National Geographic’s Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure will be a delight. This 40-minute special explores the less-familiar world of the prehistoric oceans, filled with predatory Platecarpi, gentle Protostegas, and cold-eyed Xiphactini. The story follows a newborn Dolichorhynchops (a short-necked plesiosaur that looks a little like a dolphin crossed with the Loch Ness Monster) as she matures into adolescence and adulthood, surviving encounters with sharks and the fearsome Tylosaurus, who’s sort of the T-Rex of the deep. Juxtaposed with these vivid CGI recreations are staged depictions of paleontological digs throughout the 20th century that unveiled the bones of these ancient deep-sea beasties. It’s irrefutable: Dinosaurs are compulsively fun to learn about, and the prehistoric creatures of the ocean are no exception.

Actors: Jerry Hoffman, Jennifer Aguilar, Michael Ashcraft, Michael Ashcroft, Paul Burmaster
Directors: Sean MacLeod Phillips
Writers: Mose Richards
Producers: Erica Meehan, Jenn Bastian, Jini Durr, Lisa Truitt, Neal Allen

Run Time: 40 minutes

“Dinosaurs are everyone’s favorite fossils. All kids seem to know about them in one way or another. There’s “Jurassic Park” and other movies. There’s Barney. All major natural history museums have exhibits. Dinosaurs are many states’ “official fossil” and on and on. Well, why not? Even though they constitute only a small portion of the total Mesozoic fauna, they’re generally large and spectacular and grab the imagination like no other fossil group. The Mesozoic Era was a glorious time for the reptiles and not just the Dinosaurs. The Mesozoic oceans had an assemblage of large marine reptiles that were just as remarkable in their habitats as the Dinosaurs were on land. Giant marine turtles, Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs of great variety and ferocious Mosasaurs, in addition to some pretty gigantic sharks and other fish, roamed the Mesozoic seaways. “Sea Monsters: A prehistoric Adventure” is a film put together to depict the marine fauna of this time span.

“Sea Monsters” weaves multiple lines of information together. First, there’s the group of paleontologists who are collecting and curateing the fossils. Second are the nature and animated recreations of the fossils themselves. Third is a little story that the fossils supposedly reveal regarding some small short-necked plesiosaurs referred to as dollies (a mother and two siblings) who venture out into the mean Cretaceous sea about 82 million years ago. Finally, the movie gives an interesting and spectacular viewing of the geologic history of the seaway, both in map and perspective views. Would the average viewer (especially kids) comprehend and appreciate the complexly interwoven story? Probably not. However, they well might enjoy many facets of the film especially some spectacular animated versions of the Mesozoic marine creatures. A person well versed in natural history might view the film in an entirely different way and find it to be very interesting and well done. The DVD could be repeatedly viewed, especially by children. As their knowledge grew, probably their understanding and appreciation would also grow. Same for adults. The film has good educational potential. Personally, my favorite portion of the film would be the animations. It was delightful to view creatures that I’ve read about in spectacular live versions.

I should probably issue a disclosure at this point. I served as a scientific consultant to this film and I’m listed in the closing credits. I received no remuneration or expenses and have no financial tie-ins with the filming company or The National Geographic Society, and none was expected. My interest was in the fossils and the story they were telling and I’m delighted with the final results. I viewed the film at the Rueben Fleet IMAX Theater with Director Sean Phillips and others and greatly enjoyed the evening. The DVD could not possibly be as spectacular as my viewing, but I have full confidence that the DVD version will show well on a wide-screen TV.” – Gary Peterson


DVD is still in shrinkwrap. Includes an Interactive Timeline as a special feature. Original music by Peter Gabriel and narrated by Live Schreiber.