For nearly 200 million years while dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the seas teemed with some of the most awe-inspiring ocean creatures of all time. Sea Monsters, a National Geographic Giant Screen film, is an entertaining jour... more »ney into prehistoric oceans. Inter-cutting between the animated story and the reenactments of fossil discoveries combine the appeal of "Indiana Jones" with the CGI that brings these prehistoric monsters to life. Perfect for the whole family.« less
This was really well done with the history, the recreation, the videos, etc. My only complaint was the CGI of the Sea Monsters was noticeable that they were overlaid on another background at times but it was minimal time with this issue. A must for Dinosaur and Sea fans!
Patricia S. (acelestialsoul) from HONOLULU, HI Reviewed on 4/29/2014...
I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the DVD documentary, "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure" (National Geographic, 2008.) This film is based on ancient "Sea Monsters," recreated with the help of computer imagery. In this program, you follow a "Doli" (or Dolichorhynchops) from birth all through her life cycle, as she faces natural challenges at various stages of her development.
Some of the photo-realistic creatures created are gigantic and awesome; you almost feel like you are swimming among them. The underwater scenes of one fish feeding upon another and the chain of life segments are effective and feel realistic.
Parts of the documentary portray several different paleontologists over time discovering various marine life, in places such as Kansas and Texas. These pieces are done well, reenacting how scientists have learned what we know about these amazing sea creatures. By studying unearthed fossils and bone, scientists now understand where and how these animals lived. The human parts are not "stuffy" or boring, and make these animals real.
The accompanying music (by Peter Gabriel and the Footnote) and sound effects are well done, complimenting the program. Narration performed by Liev Schreiber. Originally seen in IMAX and specialty theaters, this documentary has been formatted to fit widescreen and full screen screens.
I would recommend watching "Sea Monsters-A Prehistoric Adventure" with your kids that are ages 7 and up. This program is satisfying even for adults; it's worth your time to watch-it's educational and entertaining.
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Gary Peterson | San Diego, California USA | 05/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dinosaurs are everyone's favorite fossils. All kids seem to know about them in one way or another. There's "Jurassic Park" and other movies. There's Barney. All major natural history museums have exhibits. Dinosaurs are many states' "official fossil" and on and on. Well, why not? Even though they constitute only a small portion of the total Mesozoic fauna, they're generally large and spectacular and grab the imagination like no other fossil group. The Mesozoic Era was a glorious time for the reptiles and not just the Dinosaurs. The Mesozoic oceans had an assemblage of large marine reptiles that were just as remarkable in their habitats as the Dinosaurs were on land. Giant marine turtles, Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs of great variety and ferocious Mosasaurs, in addition to some pretty gigantic sharks and other fish, roamed the Mesozoic seaways. "Sea Monsters: A prehistoric Adventure" is a film put together to depict the marine fauna of this time span.
"Sea Monsters" weaves multiple lines of information together. First, there's the group of paleontologists who are collecting and curateing the fossils. Second are the nature and animated recreations of the fossils themselves. Third is a little story that the fossils supposedly reveal regarding some small short-necked plesiosaurs referred to as dollies (a mother and two siblings) who venture out into the mean Cretaceous sea about 82 million years ago. Finally, the movie gives an interesting and spectacular viewing of the geologic history of the seaway, both in map and perspective views. Would the average viewer (especially kids) comprehend and appreciate the complexly interwoven story? Probably not. However, they well might enjoy many facets of the film especially some spectacular animated versions of the Mesozoic marine creatures. A person well versed in natural history might view the film in an entirely different way and find it to be very interesting and well done. The DVD could be repeatedly viewed, especially by children. As their knowledge grew, probably their understanding and appreciation would also grow. Same for adults. The film has good educational potential. Personally, my favorite portion of the film would be the animations. It was delightful to view creatures that I've read about in spectacular live versions.
I should probably issue a disclosure at this point. I served as a scientific consultant to this film and I'm listed in the closing credits. I received no remuneration or expenses and have no financial tie-ins with the filming company or The National Geographic Society, and none was expected. My interest was in the fossils and the story they were telling and I'm delighted with the final results. I viewed the film at the Rueben Fleet IMAX Theater with Director Sean Phillips and others and greatly enjoyed the evening. The DVD could not possibly be as spectacular as my viewing, but I have full confidence that the DVD version will show well on a wide-screen TV.
Better for Education than Entertainment
Ursula K. Raphael | USA | 10/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The special effects were amazing, a lot of information was given, wonderful narration, and the storyline was interesting.
However, I can't bring myself to give more than three stars because the staged paleontologist scenes were too cheesy for me...I don't know if better actors would have made a difference. Just when we were getting into the scenes with the prehistoric creatures, it would cut away to a reacreation of how the fossils were found - it was very distracting.
I think maybe they should have separated those scenes from the main storyline, and offered the fossil information as a special feature for the DVD.
If you prefer the set-up of DVDs such as Chased By Sea Monsters or When Dinosaurs Roamed America, you might have the same problem trying to sit through this DVD.
We bought this DVd for our three-year old son who is fascinated with prehistoric sea monsters...he loves the parts featuring the creatures, but kept wandering off whenever they cut to the staged "people" scenes. That kind of defeated the purpose of buying this DVD."
Sea Monsters vs Chased by Sea Monsters
Daniel Scallon | 07/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Definitely the best-to-date film on prehistoric sea-life I've seen. It follows the life story of a little-known sea creature called Dolichorhynchops (a.k.a. Doli) and the creatures she encounters in the then submerged center of America.
The graphics of "Prehistoric Adventure" don't quite match that of "Chased by Sea Monsters," BUT the story-line is much more engaging. The "Adventure" jumps seamlessly between Doli's story and the paleontologists unraveling her story.
"Adventure" makes breaks in the storyline to talk ancient beasties like Tylosaurus, Xiphactinus, the Ammonites, etc. as they most likely lived rather than having Nigel Marvin introducing their names before hurriedly moving on like in "Chased." For example, watching the Astixosaurus swimming thru that school of fish like modern sharks, dolphins, and whales do almost convinced me these things are really out there.
Hope National Geographic puts out more like this. This is definitely worth your money, the kids will love it and you will 2.
Not what I expected
Haseeb | Tempe, AZ United States | 05/12/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was dissappointed with this documentary. It opens showing a landscape and then 3 people in an SUV identified as paleontologists who don't appear again in the film until the very end. They don't do anything but talk among themselves about what they are looking for which doesn't add anything to the documentary. It is never clearly stated who they are and who they represent. The film also shows other paleontologists who do a little more talking, but still who they represent remains a mystery. A great deal of time is spent on dazzleling the viewer with the special effects and a story about the adventures of two sea dynosaurs (doli...?). The narration left much to be desired and the music was poorly chosen. This film was designed it seems mostly for kids. You learn very little from this.
I consider National Geographic to be one of the best makers of nature documentaries, but this one is the worst documentary or supposed documentary I've ever seen from them.
Strangely, this DVD did not play in my DVD player but did play on my computer's DVD drive."
A Very Good Documentary
K. M. Colwell | La Jolla, CA United States | 07/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've taught classes on Mesozoic marine reptiles at UC Berkeley, and I'm glad that a modern documentary has been made (with well-done special CGI) on the fauna of the Western Interior Seaway. The only other comparable media is the section "A Cruel Sea" in the Walking With Dinosaurs series, focusing on European animals. A refreshing aspect of this film is the featuring of a little-known group of plesiosaurs (the polycotylids) in "Dolly" the Dolichorhynchops as the protagonist. With Mike Everhart as the scientific advisor and Liev Schreiber narrating, this film is a good source of historical and paleontological facts accurately representing life in the Late Cretaceous North American sea."