Prehistoric Planet Review: A Breathtaking Nature Documentary with Realistic-Looking Dinosaurs

Posted 2022/05/25 4 0

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From Jon Favreau and the producers of Planet Earth, a new nature docuseries arrives at Apple TV+. A new take on the lost world, Prehistoric Planet features narration from the legendary natural historian Sir David Attenborough. The new documentary follows several types of dinosaurs with jaw-dropping advanced CGI that’ll make you think you’re watching them in real-life. Prehistoric Planet is the first major dinosaur-focused docuseries produced by BBC since 2011’s Planet Dinosaur. It also serves as the third overall with 1999’s Walking with Dinosaurs being the first.

The official synopsis for Prehistoric Planet reads: “A documentary that follows dinosaurs recreated with computer-generated imagery living around the globe in the Late Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago. It set out to depict dinosaurs using current paleontological research such as feathered dinosaurs. The docuseries is produced by a team at BBC Studios Natural History Unit with the support from the photorealistic visual effects of MPC (The Lion King, The Jungle Book) applied to concept art created by Jellyfish Pictures (The Book of Boba Fett, Spirit: Untamed).” You can watch the official trailer for Prehistoric Planet below.

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Jon Favreau on the Development of Prehistoric Planet

During an interview with National World, Jon Favreau recently discussed the cutting-edge animation technology that was used to bring dinosaurs to the small screen. “We’ve only been on the planet for well shy of a million years, but dinosaurs have been around for 100 million years in just this period.” He adds: “We could have never shown feathered animals like this 15 or 20 years ago. Jurassic Park, the first and for my money one of the best utilizations of CGI, they were dealing with scales and skin, and that took everything they had from a processing perspective. Well now we can do fur, we can do feathers – there’s so much more that’s available to us from a feasibility standpoint that really the research and our imaginations are the only limitations.”


He continues: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every time there’s a new technology everybody wants to show dinosaurs. The first time they did stop-motion, the first time they did CGI. This has been a fascination with storytellers and humanity since the original discovery of dinosaurs.” He also stated that none of the animation was “done for flash”, but instead that all the animation choices were “set in the science”. It’s no surprise that when Jon Favreau is attached to work on either a new movie or television series, he certainly sets the standard when it comes to filmmaking.

Episode 101: Coasts

A pregnant tuarangisaurus is in distress, and her young calf can sense it, as she travels waters that are home to the ocean’s deadliest predators. All dinosaurs that appeared in the first episode of Prehistoric Planet featured the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Tethydraco, Phosphatodraco, Alcione Elainus, Barbaridactylus, Tuarangisaurus, Kaikaifilu, Mosasaurus Hoffmanni, Archelon Turtle, Pycnodont, and the Ammonoid. The overall special effects were so incredible, that some viewers even began to question themselves if the dinosaurs appearing on the show were somehow physically there being filmed in live-action. All the unique locations that the series premiere had shown were simply beautiful, which easily made every scene even more captivating.


The narration of Sir David Attenborough never seems to disappoint as he continues to lend his iconic voice in this all-new nature documentary. The information and knowledge that he provides throughout the first episode can really teach the show’s viewers a lot about these certain dinosaurs living in the Cretaceous period. While the first episode primarily focused on oceanic predators, the remaining upcoming episodes will cover different biomes around the world. For the viewers that are huge fans of dinosaurs, this new documentary serves as a perfect example of how dinosaur films should be made. Prehistoric Planet also serves as an excellent teaser for the fans that are patiently waiting for the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion film, which is set to premiere next month.

Prehistoric Planet Was 10 Years in the Making

Prior to its trailer release, paleontologist and consultant Steve Brusatte stated that the all-new docuseries had been in development for an entire decade. Prehistoric Planet uses up-to-date paleontological research to depict its animals from the Cretaceous period. Palaeozoologist Darren Naish and science illustrator Gabriel Ugueto alongside several others were consulted for the depictions of the prehistoric world during the production of the docuseries. “This is the first time a TV series or a movie involving prehistoric life has had a full-time live-in technically qualified paleontologist. It was important to have that involvement and as a consequence, you’re seeing as best as possible a cutting-edge portrayal of our scientific understanding of these animals.” Said Dr Darren Naish.


The computer-generated imagery for Prehistoric Planet was developed by Moving Picture Company and obviously intended to be photorealistic, as their previous projects such as 2016’s The Jungle Book and 2019’s The Lion King. It was first reported by Deadline on May 8, 2019, that Apple had ordered a new documentary series by BBC Studios titled, Prehistoric Planet, to be executively produced by Favreau. The first official sneak peek for the docuseries was revealed on the official Apple TV+ YouTube channel on April 2, 2022, while the second trailer was released on May 19, 2022, which was just days away from the series premiere. The original score for Prehistoric Planet was composed by Kara Talve, Anže Rozman, and Hans Zimmer.

Prehistoric Planet consists of a total of five episodes that began on May 23, with only one episode being released every day until its final episode premieres on May 27. Each episode of the five-part docuseries will cover several types of dinosaurs in multiple regions around the globe. In premiering order, all episode titles are revealed as Coasts, Deserts, Freshwater, Ice Worlds, and Forests. All five episodes each have roughly 39-42 runtimes. There are currently no further details on whether Prehistoric Planet will return for a second season or not.



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