Apple TV’s Prehistoric Planet looks so good that it feels like a true nature documentary

From the moment the first dinosaur swam on the screen prehistoric planet I was a lost cause – I laughed for joy. My thoughts immediately shifted from “I’m a science editor taking a serious look at this nature show” to “Holy crap, that’s a dinosaur.”

prehistoric planet It is Apple’s attempt to answer the question: What if we did planet earth But 66 million years ago? The result was shockingly good looking, especially since the producers could not, in fact, invent time travel, nor did they pull off Jurassic Park He brought the dinosaurs back to life.

It’s a whole lot of movie magic that makes the five-episode series actually look like a nature documentary, even though its main themes haven’t been swimming in the seas, flying through the sky, or wandering in forests since the end of the Cretaceous period. It’s not perfect – some heads looked animated, and some flocks definitely had a cartoon feel. But those few visual glitches are missed by the film’s meticulous attention to detail. Snow falling from Nanuqsaurus After a snowstorm or dim sunlight strikes the cobalt feathers corethoraptor In the jungle make dinosaurs seem Real, even if every movement and every shade is engineered. This kind of leap forward in binary realism was last achieved 29 years ago when it was the first Jurassic Park The movie came out.

Since this is the second mention of the movie, it’s time to talk about the titanosaur in the room. At the time it was first introduced, Jurassic Park It was awesome. It portrayed dinosaurs as a science at the time understood and inspired a generation of paleontologists. This generation was now part of a massive wave of discoveries made in the decades that followed. Lots of discoveries, in fact, that some of the science represented in the original movie is now has expired – something that He wrestled with so many supplements. We now live in what is often called The golden age of paleontologyEspecially for dinosaurs. We now know more about how dinosaurs behaved, what they looked like, and where they lived than we did 29 years ago.

So, for the paleontologist nerd, it’s very exciting to see some of the fossil discoveries of the past few decades come to life — not just feathered dinosaurs but also their nesting behaviors, interspecies battles, and even how their digestive systems worked. There’s absolutely no doubt that we’ll see a lot of discussion from the paleontological community about the series, including which parts were speculation, which parts might have been true, and what people don’t often agree with, and some of that discussion has already taken place behind the scenes.

every scene for prehistoric planet It involved a huge amount of research, discussions, and comparisons with the animals we see today. “Everything we show is reasonable using the latest science,” Jon Favreauan executive producer on the show, said at a press conference, noting how different it is “from Hollywood, where you can make anything and put anything on screen.”

Now that might all change by the way, in the year,” Favreau said, referring to the pace of the research. “But right now we can point to everything we do and nothing like that is done as a flash. None of it is done for the scene. It’s all set in science.”

Even with the back-end research libraries, there were some questions that the team’s scientific advisor Darren Naish, a paleontologist, could not answer with only journal papers. But the movie often ended up finding an answer.

Take in one of the plesiosaur sights. Naish said in an interview with the edge. “We went with the floppy, because that’s what the animators said would work best.” It turned out that this choice was a good choice. Animators noted that biomechanics made more sense with the “floppy disk” option, Naish said, and a later paper from the researchers showed that this interpretation may have been correct.

The depth of research is also reflected in the huge variety of ancient creatures on display. There are popular favorites, such as T-Rex with his bag T-Rex juniors. And a velociraptor here in full-feathered glory – a smart girl. But there is also OrnithomimusNest-building, bandit dinosaurs resembling vicious rock ostriches with dark mohawks and bright red sleeves. or Barbaridactylus, a pterosaur with a silly giant horn on its head. or BeelzevoA giant frog will absolutely haunt my dreams. And big, attractive animals aren’t the only ones making the cut. Other organisms, including fungi, ammonites, and ancient plants appear as supporting characters.

This is fitting because, at its core, it’s still a complete nature documentary with the king of all natural history narrators: David Attenborough. Although it doesn’t feature the same creatures we see today (crabs and dragonflies make cameos), the series has the same rhythms and stories you’ll find in any Attenborough documentary—they’re just getting started in the fossil record and not in the crossfire. There are fights to the death, funny mating rituals, and cute little dinosaurs trying to survive in a cruel world.

(Fair warning to any new parents out there: The sightings of tiny, endangered dinosaurs definitely hit more than they did in the days before my kid. I might have cried, “Don’t you dare hurt that kid, David Attenborough!” More than once through the five-ring arc. Hormones are a thing.)

What’s really cool about watching the series is how it only drives home the amount of stuff you did not Changed in 66 million years. Sure, the continents have changed, different life forms have conquered the planet, but the same forces are still at work. Seasons still change, and life forms still have to contend with wild events like storms, wildfires, and even mosquitoes. Against these familiar backdrops, dinosaurs feel just as alive as any bird, rhinoceros, or tiger we see today — although all that remains are a few fossilized remains. It turns out that with the right filmmaking technique and enough research, life, uh, finds a way.

“Prehistoric Planet” premieres Monday, May 23 on Apple TV. The five episodes will be released daily throughout the week.

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