June 11, 2014


Photo Credit: © BBC
(Special thanks to BBC Home Entertainment for providing a complimentary DVD for review).

I'll be honest - I was really impressed by a series of documentaries that the BBC had released years ago focusing on prehistoric life. Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Monsters and Walking With Prehistoic Beasts mixed animatronics puppetry and CGI to recreate prehistoric life. So when the opportunity came to view Chased By Dinosaurs - a real-life naturist "interacting" with prehistoric life - I took it. Unfortunately, the series itself is a mixed bag.

It's not that the episodes themselves are bad....but there's a bit of a misnomer. Only two of the episodes feature naturalist (insert name here) interacting with dinosaurs, solving the mystery of a giant-clawed dinosaur and hunting down another. The disc also includes a Walking With Dinosaurs "special" featuring the life of an Allosaurus. All of the episodes work - the mix of CGI and animatronics work seamlessly to provide a view of nature outside of our immediate experience. But....to be honest, I wish there were more episodes with Nigel Marvin - there's real enthusiasm, even if the dinosaurs themselves are (to him) imaginary that really sell the episodes.
Photo Credit: © BBC

Another problematic issue - and this is more of a production matter - is that the episodes are only half a hour in length. Granted, budget constraints and attention spans may have warranted such a harsh cut in timing, but the episodes tend to build narrative steam and then end rather abruptly. It's an engaging view, but there's a lingering feeling that Chased By Dinosaurs would have been served better if each episode were longer.

I admit that I'm a sucker for a good documentary, and enjoyed Chased by Dinosaurs a lot....but now I wish to watch the Walking With... Trilogy once more. It's a much stronger view, and Chased is best viewed as a follow up, rather than on its own.

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