BackView all news

The Guardian | Prehistoric Planet review – you’ll genuinely think you’re watching real dinosaurs

This nature show about millions of years ago looks so good it’s like a wildlife documentary – especially as David Attenborough narrates. What a wonderful spectacle.

NewsMay 25, 2022

What is the opposite of an existential crisis? Because I think I’m having one. Watching Prehistoric Planet (Apple TV+) has induced in me an existential – joy/delight? – that I don’t quite know what to do with.

To explain. Because it is new, made of money and eager to pump its schedules full of prestigious productions to attract the kind of viewers and subscription rates that keep its coffers full and reputation buffed – thus creating a virtuous, quality-programming circle for thee, me and whichever shareholders/billionaires need to be kept in space-rocket funds – Apple TV+ has recreated dinosaurs.

I mean, not quite in the Jurassic Park sense (though I suspect it’s only a matter of time) but in a manner much safer and more accessible to a wider public. Prehistoric Planet is stuffed to bursting with CGI renderings of the reptiles that roamed the Earth 66m years ago. And not just your ordinary dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurus rex is there, of course, but beyond that there is the mosasaur, pterosaur, hadrosaur, tethyshadros, edmontosaurus, dromaeosaurid, antarctopelta, pachyrhinosaurus, nanuqsaurus and so many others that you may need to beg the loan of a 10-year-old dino-fan if you want to have a hope of correctly spelling the names of all the species and genuses. I couldn’t find one and so have doubtless made a billion mistakes in the above list. The internet, plus the 47-year-old brain, is no match for the knowledge-sponge that is the pre-adolescent hobbyist, and I can only apologise.

There is no uncanny valley here. The beasts – large or small, parents or juveniles, flightless or soaring – created by Moving Picture Company, the special-effects experts behind the likes of The Lion King, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Blade Runner 2049, have made them look … real. I can say no more than that. You look at the screen and you see dinosaurs. You watch episode one and find yourself thinking: “Hang on. I’ve just seen dinosaurs. Near as dammit, they’ve just filmed a wildlife documentary in the Cretaceous period and I’ve watched it.” They walk, run and hunt (in a pack, if you’re a tenacious but tiny dromaeosaurid aiming for a massive hadrosaur instead of your customary insect intake), chirp (if you’re a baby olorotitan just out of the egg your mother laid in volcanic sand to keep you warm), and sometimes simply mooch about, heedless of any extinction events one day coming their way.

Discover the full article via The Guardian.

Want to chat with us? Get in touch to learn more about our work.

Contact us