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'Prehistoric Planet' Review: Ancient Battles for Survival
Sir David Attemborough narrates the splendid series, debuting globally on Apple TV+.
Now Streaming: "We have a T-Rex."
Richard Attenborough said the line in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993), so it feels like poetic justice that it is his younger brother David Attenborough who begins Prehistoric Planet by introducing a T-Rex in a museum in the present day.
Sir David Attenborough narrates the splendid five-part series. Rather than getting into the whys and wherefores of dinosaurs, the series uses fabulous-looking digital imaging to create a prehistoric world as it might have looked 66 millions of years ago, by their reckoning. Inhabited by a raft of dinosaurs of various sizes, shapes and colors, they walk, swim and fly though -- and it all looks quite wonderful.
Now in his 90s, the distinguished Sir David Attenborough became well-known for his narration of series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit, especially Life on Earth (1979), as well as many others. His stately voice lends gravitas to the digital imaging. The creative team, including writers Dom Walter and Matthew Wright, present a tremendous amount of information in a lively, propulsive manner that belies its similarity to a living textbook discussion.
The dinosaurs and their varied landscapes come to life in a manner that feels quite realistic, to the point that I found myself wondering how they would deal with the ever-present dangers to their survival. Divided into episodes according to the landscapes that are depicted -- "Coasts," "Deserts," "Freshwater," "Ice Worlds," and "Forests" -- an incredible array of dinosaurs are introduced, showing them in their natural habitat and relating how they dealt with the daily challenges they faced, which is fascinating to watch.
Like many (most?) children, I've always been fascinated by dinosaurs. The childish wonder about these strange creatures led me down some odd paths of research, though I admit that my basic grasp of dinosaur types and groupings has not progressed very much.
Perhaps that is why I was so struck by Prehistoric Planet, which presents an incredibly different sort of animal and presents soundly-researched possibilities concerning their likely activity during the relatively brief period that they ruled the earth. I've seen all five episodes, which will debut globally during a five night-premiere event, May 23-27, one episode per day, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Sit back, relax and bask in the reflected glory of monstrous beasts. (Spoiler: no humans are eaten.) [Apple TV+]