Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Styracosaurs in Love and War

Ah, Dinosaur Revolution. Er, Dinotasia. Mishandled by the Discovery Channel, never allowed to blossom into its own splendid weirdness, reviled by critics (seriously, they did not like it). Director David Krentz has shared another bit of pre-production material on the Facebook page: an animatic depicting a story of Stryracosaurus intraspecific combat cut from the production. It's enjoyable on its own, but it would be wonderful to see it fully realized one day.



That desire to see it fully fleshed out just takes me back to those days of anticipating what I hoped would be a much larger phenomenon. It was always fun to see Krentz's promotional videos for DR before it aired; they were a perfect illustration of the joy so many of us take in prehistoric animals, as in this walkthrough of the Rahonavis sequence:


Regardless of the eventual handling of the work, Dinosaur Revolution must have been a joy to work on. And these rough sketches from Krentz's pen have more soul in one stroke than the entire horde of shoddy CG dinos populating the shelves of bookstores do (before you accuse me of prejudice, keep in mind that it's against the shoddy part, not the CG part). Eh. I'm feeling cranky. At least it doesn't seem that Krentz has given up; in a recent email to the Dinosaur Mailing List, he asked for other perspectives on the potential for scientific institutions to collaborate with media companies in mutually beneficial arrangements. I really hope we haven't seen the last of his work in documentaries.

UPDATE: Dinosaur blogger Mark Wildman has informed me in the comments of this post that in the UK at least, the production has been reaired under its original Reign of the Dinosaurs title. It will premiere this Thursday on the Discovery Channel at 9 o'clock GMT.

More on Dinosaur Revolution:
In Defense of Dinosaur Revolution
Review of Parts One and Two

13 comments:

  1. Is this the one that was originally created to have no narration and then laden with unneeded narration instead? I forget now. I'm really hoping for the day we get a lengthy, but not inappropriately so, dinosaur "documentary" that is filmed like The Bear (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095800/?ref_=fn_al_tt_8), as much as it can be of course, with zero dialog and not all carnivores fighting and mating for an hour.

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  2. @Ian: I've finally started watching Dinosaur Revolution episodes on YouTube recently, and the narrator really, really spoils it. I don't mind the talking heads, but almost everything that Movie Trailer Voice Man says is toe-curlingly cringeworthy (when it isn't painfully unnecessary). "This is Lusotitan...EMPHASIS ON TITAN!" Who the hell wrote that stuff?

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    1. I hate awful voice overs like that. It's times like that (and the popularity of reality television) that I do not regret the choice to live without cable television.

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  3. Indeed the narrator is a mess. There must have been a more elegant way to tell this story. I'm with you, Ian. I'd love something like "The Bear." Hell, even a movie that delivers on the somewhat awkwardly-worded premise of "Dinotasia" would work for me.

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  4. For UK viewers, Dinosaur Revolution premiers this Thusday on the Discovery Channel at 9 o'clock GMT under its original title of Reign of the Dinosaurs.

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    1. Oh, thank you. I'll add that to the post, and tweet about it.

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  5. I agree with everyone else. I also saw a sneak preview of that Styracosaurus sequence when I attended David Krentz's storyboarding webinar a while ago. I can't remember whether he'd hinted at it becoming realised on its own or as part of something else or whether I had simply been too hopeful.

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  6. Production, to my knowledge, has not been revived. It is simply relabeled (back) to Reign of the Dinosaurs for the UK. But it is the same show. (Jurassic Fight Club was similarly relabeled Dinosaur Secrets for the UK).

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    1. Yeah, bad choice of words. Changed to "re-aired."

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  7. How can you not love David Krentz? He's like a pirate *and* a paleoartist. And Krentz rex is the best one out there. Definitive.

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  8. N'thing the comments who long for a dialogue-free animated dinosaur documentary. (One of the smartest moves they made with the "Life" series is to let you watch each episode with a "music only" soundtrack. Really, that should be a standard option in nature docs.)

    It looks like we're never getting a DVD of "Dinosaur Revolution" in America, are we? How hard is it to find in YouTube?

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    1. "How hard is it to find in YouTube?"

      Right now, not hard at all ( http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4E65C9BB71F5E47A ).

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  9. As for yours truly, I have always wished that someday, the Discovery Channel dinosaur show Dinosaur Revolution (aka Dinotasia) would finally be restored, reconstructed, reworked and even reconstituted as closely as possible to the original intentions and visions of the people behind it, so that the world could finally see Dinosaur Revolution/Dinotasia not only in ways that the people behind it had originally conceived and intended, and not only in ways that is far more cinematic than what we've got now, and not only without dialogue and narration voiceovers, but also under the original working title: Reign of the Dinosaurs (even though Dinosaur Revolution/Dinotasia have already aired in the UK under that title).

    That will be my wish for Dinosaur Revolution/Dinotasia.

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