Flying Monsters 3D With David Attenborough

Flying Monsters 3D With David Attenborough


Reviewed by: Val Kermode

The eye-catching title is a little misleading. This is not a film which young children would enjoy, though some older ones certainly would. This is a serious documentary of the quality we have come to expect from such series as Life On Earth and almost anything involving David Attenborough. To say that he adds gravity to this subject may sound a little odd, but he certainly does. You can settle down in the cinema knowing that you're in safe hands.

And the 3D? Well it's more than just the icing on the cake. This is the first 3D film to win a Bafta, and it's well deserved. The cutting-edge 3D technology is combined with the sort of CGI used in Walking With Dinosaurs and really brings the subject to life.

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Around 220 million years ago the only flying creatures were insects. To catch them, reptiles had to take to the air. Using fossil evidence and looking at animals still alive today, Attenborough shows us how this was possible. The story takes us to New Mexico, the Jurassic coast of Lyme Regis and a fossil pit in Germany. In London's Natural History Museum we see the bones of a tiny fossilised pterosaur jump up to form its skeleton, and CGI takes us deep inside the bones of some of the larger flying creatures, which eventually evolved to have wing spans of about 40 feet.

These flying reptiles dominated the Earth for around 150 million years. But how did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through the skies? You will find some of the answers here. And what finally ended their reign? Feathers. Whatever natural catastrophe finished off the pterosaurs, the birds were already destined to be the survivors because their rigid feathers offered so much more freedom of movement, both in the air and on land.

This is a film which will fascinate anyone who enjoys unravelling the mysteries of science, and it is a real feast for the eyes. The image which may stay with you the longest is that of David Attenborough in a glider, being pursued by the largest of all the flying reptiles, quetzalcoatlus. As it swoops and glides behind and above him, it is utterly believable.

What a great way to use 3D!

Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2011
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Giant flying 3D dinosaurs introduced by everybody's favourite natural history presenter.
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Director: Matthew Dyas

Year: 2010

Runtime: 67 minutes

Country: UK


Doc/Fest 2011

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