It's in with the new and in with the old, too, in Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D, an excellent big-little IMAX movie all about, yup, dinosaurs. Here's an interesting film that uses the biggest and best of the new technologies to recreate the size and scope and wonder of creatures that have not existed as they once did for millions of years. Never before not in Jurassic Park, not in any cartoon, and not even in more recent computer-generated dinosaur ventures have the fabled and long-since extinct creatures been this alive, this real, this big, this extra-dimensional in a cinematic endeavor. Suffice it to say that 3D and computer technology are the current champions of the world of dinosaurs, surpassing, arguably, even the old standby bony museum displays as the go-to source for not only dinosaur information, but an entertaining recreation of a bygone era captured with as much authenticity as technology is currently capable of producing. Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D will amaze, not only for its spectacle as a pitch-perfect 3D title but also in the wealth of information conveyed about the history of dinosaurs and the world of paleontology in the Patagonia region of modern-day Argentina.
A 10-mile-wide comet is hurtling towards Earth. Nothing can stop it, and only history knows it's coming. The planet's inhabitants -- dinosaurs, primarily -- are immediately killed or die off soon after the rock's collision as a new ice age dawns and the planet refreshes itself for the arrival of the next dominant species: man. The comet may have struck in Mexico, but it's in the Argentinian region once known as Patagonia where this story finds its footing. Renowned paleontologist Rodolfo Coria guides viewers through the critically-important history of the region, stating the case that this may very well be the epicenter for rich and rewarding dinosaur discovery. He speaks on both recent species discoveries -- Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus -- and the unique environment of Patagonia where the largest herbivores and carnivores co-existed, possibly due to the separation of the Pangaean land mass into separate continents. He also discusses the surprisingly limited knowledge within the dinosaur community; only some 700 species have been discovered, a fraction, it would seem, of the number of likely individuals who roamed during the dinosaur's reign. Coria also speaks on the rewarding -- but challenging -- life of a paleontologist and the importance of continuing in the quest for answers that lie only beneath man's feet.
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D opens with the following word of warning: "[t]his film contains scenes with very large, very loud 3-D creatures, which may not be suitable for young viewers." Does it meet those expectations, or is this the filmmaker/studio/whomever blowing a lot of smoke? The answer lies somewhere closer to the latter. While Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D is a superb picture, it's hard to see anything in it that's excessively violent or frightening; common sense dictates not to even take the youngest of infants to the movies, but will this film trouble anyone old enough to sit still long enough and with a big enough facial structure to support a pair of 3D glasses? Maybe the most easily frightened will find it upsetting, but chances are the young ones have seen "worse" in other 3D animated films or on television. It's all in the eye of the beholder and the parents's understanding of their children's needs. Anyway, the film does feature some relatively tame violence -- one dinosaur takes a bite from another with predictably reserved CGI gore -- and a few dinosaurs that try their hardest to poke their heads out of the screen. The 3D effect works exceptionally well, but it's not the only reason to see the film. Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D is an all-around winner, a picture of a focused narrative but a relatively big scope that should satisfy dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages.
Director Marc Fafard's Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D is a remarkably well-paced and supremely-focused Documentary that manages to, in short order, bring the history of dinosaurs in the Patagonia region to exquisite life through an excellent narrative, wonderful insights from a renowned paleontologist, great visuals, and steady narration by veteran Actor Donald Sutherland. The film is appropriately accessible but at the same time smart and even a hair chilling here and there as the ultimate fate of the species comes into view with the arrival of a massive comet that bookends the film and puts everything the picture conveys into the perspective of the creatures's impending demise. The picture never oversteps its bounds in terms of sacrificing accessibility in favor of a more haughty attitude that's sometimes evident in these sorts of specialized features. Sutherland gives the picture a narrative grace, speaking with passion but not excitedly, delivering a smart and balanced narration that should be a model for future, similar projects. Lastly, Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D is just flat-out watchable; it's as entertaining as it is educational. The film has discovered the perfect balance between the two, and even those only casually interested in the topic should find themselves thoroughly engaged for the duration
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