Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tiny Morsel of Reign of the Dinosaurs

As noted by paleoartist Angie Rodrigues on her blog Art By Angie, the production company Creative Differences, who is working on the upcoming Discovery series Reign of the Dinosaurs, has included a bit of footage in their latest demo reel. Go to their site, and click the "Our Stuff" link. The snippet comes about a third of the way through, after the Time Warp bit.

It looks killer. I do mean killer. As expected of a demo reel, which is meant to be an eye-grabbing showcase of the company's work, the dinosaur action is pretty gory. It doesn't start that way, as an allosaur thundere down a game trail, charismatically groaning and waving its head to and fro.

Then, presumably the same allosaur showcases lightning-quick reflexes by catching a diplodocid's tail in its jaws and ripping off the end of it.



Next, two tyrannosaurs display a bit of intra-specific rivalry, as one rips either a strip of flesh, a tendon, or a vein out of its opponent's neck. Hopefully, this indicates that we'll see the gregarious behavior hinted at by the evidence of tyrannosaur face-biting in the fossil record.



Finally, showing that a bit of slapstick humor will indeed be present, the allosaur from earlier is slapped in the face by the sauropod tail it is snacking on. The slapstick component, which I wrote about in November, is the source of all of my worries concerning Reign.



As a small follow-up to yesterday's Vintage Dinosaur Art post, you can see that the allosaur's hands are correctly oriented, though it's clearer in the video than in the above screencap.

This is the smallest glimpse into the final product, but of the three big dinosaur products due in the next year or so, I'm still most excited about Reign of the Dinosaurs - until I see something of Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, I won't know what to think. There may be more slapstick humor than I'd like, but the artistic talent behind it has a solid reputation in paleoart and the designs above, while not particularly colorful, are bold and seem pretty accurate. I can't wait to see what they do with color and plumage in smaller theropods, and what other paleoenvironments are explored. There has been a lot of cool research in the decade since Walking with Dinosaurs, and it's reasonable to expect to see it presented well here.

8 comments:

  1. Yeah, I think it looks really good. My one and only concern is the slapsticky stuff.

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  2. Ugh, I sincerely hope that this is a few "choice" scenes taken out of context for their reel, but to me it looks like every other overly violent dinosaur show that has been put out lately. From what I read early on I was under the impression that this would be a more accurate documentary style show, like a Planet Earth for dinosaurs. The first clip of that allosaurus running through foliage whipping its head wildly to and fro while roaring has kicked my hopes in the grapes. I have never seen a carnivore living today that wasn't sick or dying roar and flail around wildly on a hunt. I'll remain cautiously optimistic from the standpoint that so many talented artists are involved with the project. Thanks for the post!

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  3. The fossil record is a bit ambiguous as to dinosaurs' sense of humor.

    Early "brain the size of a walnut" theories posited that physical slapstick was likely most popular. However, subsequent findings concerning the lack of external genetalia removed a large portion of the repertoire from consideration (Ow, my groin!)

    The discovery of evidence of feathers on many theropods introduced the idea that burlesque entertainment may have been more of the norm.

    Overlooked in all of this is the evidence of T-Rex's arms. Some have recently speculated that the carnivore adopted a mincing walk to go along with the tiny arms, and actually used it to catch their prey while they were doubled-over with laughter.

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  4. I was not impressed. I've been looking forward to this series, expecting as commenter Ryan above put it, a "Planet Earth"-like program for dinosaurs. This footage just looks like gratuitous and over-the-top violence for no sake but its own.
    I'm hoping these shots are taken out of context, or are "out takes" created specifically for this reel, and are not indicative of the project as a whole, because they do not suggest to me that this is in key with "Walking With Dinosaurs," but is closer to being "Quintin Tarantino's Jurassic Park."
    The last thing I want is another awful, sensationalized dinosaur "documentary."

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  5. God their website is terrible.

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  6. It will also feature over 200 mesozoic animals, and be relesesd on July 201 or probably later.

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