Prehistoric Planet Review: The waters of our planet may or may not be the true “last frontier,” but they were previously home to some of Earth’s most impressive dinosaurs.
Anyone who has watched a Jurassic Park film or a Mesozoic “documentary” like Walking with Dinosaurs understands that submerged dinosaurs are terrifying.
Perhaps this is why the first episode of Apple TV Plus’ new Prehistoric Planet series, “Coasts,” features the GOATs.
The latest docuseries to combine state-of-the-art CGI with picturesque settings (drawing talent from projects like 2019’s The Lion King and The Book of Boba Fett) is here to offer a lifelike investigation of life on and beneath the water 66 million years ago, give or take.
Life was simple and dinosaurs dominated throughout the Cretaceous period.
And who better to portray the species’ majesty than the oceanic dinosaurs, as told by Sir David Attenborough himself?
Mosasaurus, one of the world’s largest aquatic animals, is the star of such episodes (and the epic Jurassic World Sea World jump).
Tuarangisaurus, with its goony, sharp-toothed grin, suggests a frightening Loch Ness monster, yet there’s a lot of fun here.
It Is Complete CGI!
Each of the five episodes, presented by 96-year-old Sir David, combines breathtaking CGI with Hans Zimmer’s music.
The beauty of such sea animals is that they are top-notch in practically every way.
They’re huge, flowing, and nearly uncontrollable.
You know you’re in for a good time when Sir Attenborough says the area where monitoring is “home to oceanic predators,” albeit you never quite know-how.
The rules as we know them for situations like these feel insufficient since the mechanics and size are so different for these creatures.
Prehistoric Planet sets up a lesson we didn’t see coming when giant lizards open their lips for a newborn fish (genuine Hoffman’s Mosasaur aficionados know what’s up).
It entails witnessing a fearsome reptile relax on the surface and create a derp face before launching into a brawl with a younger guy. Folks, this is the pinnacle of fun!
Some of the issues that beset documentaries of this type are present in Prehistoric Planet.
While the series claims “latest paleontology learnings,” it is created by Jon Favreau and the makers of Planet Earth. It’s just as easy to fall into the genre’s dramatic tropes.
Each vignette in the realm of Prehistoric Planet is a dramatic epic.
The rising orchestra’s response can predict how the tides will alter.
“Few get as far” as the few baby dinos we see flop; scamper and tumble their way through climactic showdowns, hardly surviving to dino another day, as Attenborough’s gruff, calming narration frequently reminds us.
Prehistoric Planet Review – How Realistic Are The Characters?
What exactly is the polar opposite of an existential crisis? I believe I am experiencing one.
Prehistoric Planet (Apple TV+) has given me an existential – joy/delight? – that I’m not sure how to handle.
To clarify. Because it is new, wealthy, and keen to fill its schedules with prestigious programs to attract the kinds of viewers and subscription fees that keep its coffers full and reputation polished, Apple TV+ has resurrected dinosaurs.
I don’t mean in the Jurassic Park sense (though I’m sure it’ll happen eventually) but in a lot safer and more accessible way.
CGI depictions of the reptiles that roamed the Earth 66 million years ago are crammed into Prehistoric Planet.
Not your typical dinosaurs, either. Of course, there’s the Tyrannosaurus rex, but there’s also the mosasaur, pterosaur, hadrosaur, tethyshadros, edmontosaurus, dromaeosaurid; antarctopelta; pachyrhinosaurus, nanuqsaurus, and a slew of other dinosaurs.
I couldn’t find one, thus the above list contains a zillion errors.
I can only apologize since the internet, along with my 47-year-old brain, is no match for the pre-adolescent hobbyist’s knowledge-sponge.
Prehistoric Planet Price
With an Apple TV Plus trial, you can watch “Prehistoric Planet” for free. Before being charged the monthly fee, new members are given a seven-day free trial.
But along with the clichéd moments come the epic cinematic ones: a dinosaur emerging from a cloud of dust after a scuffle, or a shoal of ammonites converging to mate and bioluminescence.
It seems incredible that turtles ever made it to the water of the shore they were born on, let alone to our time, as we witness mature dinosaurs devour newborn turtles.
“Coasts” isn’t only about aquatic dinosaurs; as the title suggests, we spend a lot of time at the point where land meets the sea, and it’s an excellent decision.
It not only better demonstrates Prehistoric Planet’s animation prowess — the CGI is mixed, with aquatic dinos proving some of the most difficult to represent due to the ocean’s waves and the fact that they are too badass to capture exactly — but it also hints at the series’ scale.