Never too old for dinosaurs: Three new dino discs from BBC


The fascination with dinosaurs never fades, as evidenced by the recent re-release of the fantastic-yet-fictional Jurassic Park, now in 3D.

For those seeking equally fantastic yet factual information and more on all things dinosaur, come three new DVDs from BBC Home Entertainment on the amazing creatures, sure to captivate the hearts and minds of dinosaur lovers.

Extreme DinosaursExtreme Dinosaurs (single disc, 100 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) includes two features that challenge long-held beliefs about Tyrannosaurus rex. The first, Extreme Dinosaurs narrated by Paul Brightwell, provides tremendous information and evidence to show that the six-ton Argentinosuarus just may be a more fierce predator than the T-Rex.The second, T-Rex: Warrior or Wimp? narrated by Jack Fortune, further challenges the idea that the T-Rex was the most fearsome dinosaur of all. Both features include numerous interviews with paleontologists, dinosaur hunters, and experts of all degrees. There's a fair amount of time spent on Pete Larson, who found "Sue", the most complete T-Rex fossil, which was then confiscated by the FBI.

Predator DinosaursPredator Dinosaurs (single disc, 100 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) was my favorite disc of the trio. In this one, Bill Oddie presents facts on the most brutal dinosaurs of all (think T-Rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Anklysaurus) in a fascinating and fun manner, with many humorous asides. Techniques used to provide a more in-depth and interesting look at the dinosaurs include CGI, biomechanics, high-tech scans and more. A fun demonstration in which men reenact a possible tussle between a T-Rex and a Triceratops was one of the highlights for me. Well, that an a lengthy discourse on how an ostrich is seemingly a long-lost relative of the T-Rex.

Prehistoric ParkPrehistoric Park (2-disc set, 288 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) is the most dramatic of the features, closely resembling Jurassic Park. The gist of it is that Nigel Marven, a zoologist and wildlife expert, travels 65 million years back in time to collect dinosaurs to populate his dinosaur park. It's a race against time, as he needs to nab at least one of each species before dinosaurs are rendered extinct thanks to a meteor hitting earth. Marven seemed much like a dinosaur-hunting version of Steve Irwin's crocodile hunter, and the CGI creatures he'd come across and curate made for a fun safari of sorts.

What I loved about the trio of features: While Extreme Dinosaurs was jam-packed with interesting tales primarily of those who dig for and research dinosaurs, the CGI, re-enactments, and sometimes cheeky humor (deliberate or not) of the second two made them fun viewing even for folks who may not be diehard dinosaur lovers. As is the case with all things presented by BBC Home Entertainment, the graphics, photography, research and more that go into all three of the features is beyond compare.

What I didn't love so much: Because dinosaurs hold such appeal for youngsters, I thought the features would be more accessible to young kids. The extensive research and interviewing, though, rendered these DVDs more likely to appeal to kids over, say, the age of 10, I think. That said, the first might be too dry and factual for all but adults.

Extreme Dinosaurs, Predator Dinosaurs, and Prehistoric Park were released by BBC Home Entertainment March 12, 2013, and available for purchase on the BBC website.

Disclosure: I received copies of the DVDs free for review. All opinions are my own.