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RE: Dinosaur Revolution Review



  Kris, 


 I was with you up until this bit:



> I just like to have some semblance of accuracy in my fiction ;-)
> (probably why I freakn' love Star Trek and adhore Star Wars, etc).

   


   I hate to do this, but I have quite the reverse opinion: Star Trek is less 
accurate in its depiction of space flight than Jurassic Park is in its 
depiction of dinosaurs. Venomous dinosaurs? That's nothing compared to gravity 
carpet and casual faster than light travel, and windows on a starship are just 
as bad as a raptors without feathers. The most realistic starship ever put on 
the big screen was the Venture Star in 'Avatar', and even that was balanced out 
with blue cat monkey things that mate with their hair. 'Dinosaur Revolution' 
wasn't just a documentary, it was a fictional narrative as well, and when 
writing fiction, you often have to follow the 'rule of cool' to make a good 
story. Star Trek and Star Wars are perfect examples of this. On the other hand, 
I do prefer Hard Science Fiction over Hollywood's ummm.... science fiction.. if 
you can call it that... which is why I read science fiction novels when I want 
a good space opera. SF literature has the advantage of having a largely science 
literate fan base, while a 100 million dollar movie must be easy enough for 
not-so-scientifically-literate folks to understand. That's why in say 'Battle: 
LA' the aliens come for our water, because it's just a whole heck of a lot 
easier to understand than explaining that they don't need our resources since 
they are all over our solar system in much easier to reach places. Imagine, if 
instead, they explained that they came here because we have a large stabilizing 
moon, a fluid core, plate tectonics, a strong magnetosphere and amino acids 
that are somewhat compatible with their own chemistry. Some exec would say, 
"no, no, no... that's too complicated.. make it water.. everyone gets thirsty.. 
easier to understand'. Plus, just ignoring science makes things a lot easier to 
write. It's sad, but it's true and I've gotten used to it. Maybe things will 
change as America, and Hollywood along with it, gradually becomes more 
scientifically literate and so starts producing more sophisticated fiction, but 
I'm not going to hold!
 my breat
n the mean time, I would definitely class 'Dinosaur Revolution' as 'hard sf' 
with a higher level of accuracy than the vast majority science fiction found on 
tv or the big screen.   




BTW here is a great site for learning about what space travel/colonization 
might really be like someday. http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.php 
The creator of this site (Winchell Chung) was actually name dropped in Mass 
Effect 2 because the developers used this material to help create a more 
realistic space opera game. 

Sim Koning

   

> Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 11:06:06 +0200
> From: saurierlagen1978@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> 
> Sim,
> 
> You are right, of course... As I said, I do have this habit of asking
> for and expecting/anticipating too much from the dinosaur programs.
> Furthermore, I am fully aware of what Tom says about how the
> production of these shows, from conception to airing, works. You'd
> think at this point I'd realize the futility of asking "for the moon".
> I just like to have some semblance of accuracy in my fiction ;-)
> (probably why I freakn' love Star Trek and adhore Star Wars, etc).
> 
> That being said, I fully admit the situation could be much, much
> worse.. Walk up to the average person on the street in the US and ask
> them who we fought in WWI.  And then follow that up with the question
> of why we fought them...
> 
> The answers you'd get will make you appreciate that we even have the
> paleo programs we have.
> 
> So, I guess I should be happy that someone is even trying at this
> point and settle on what we get... regardless of the scientific
> calibre.
> 
> Kris
> 
> 
> 
> On Sat, Sep 17, 2011 at 7:39 PM, Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >> Kris Wrote:
> >
> >> Sadly, "joe public" can, and often is, *that* ignorant. Just tell
> >> anyone you meet on the street that you study dinosaurs and pay close
> >> attention to 96.8% of the reactions (you get an "awwwww, that's
> >> cute"-type of look).
> >
> >
> >
> >   Wow, where do you live? Because where I live close to half (including 
> > family members) would tell me that I'm going straight to
> > hell for promoting evolution and the other half would be incredulous when 
> > it comes to science in general. The latter half would be highly dismissive 
> > about *any* claims made about an animal that has been dead for a 155 
> > million years. So, I'm not really worried about them swallowing every 
> > little detail of this show as fact. What I am worried about is them not 
> > being the least bit interested in evolution and natural history in 
> > general.  I am not worried about the rather small demographic of teenage 
> > dinosaur fans that watch it, as they will likely be on some 'Jurassic Park' 
> > forum the next day picking apart every little mistake. So, in short, I envy 
> > you for living wherever you are...
> >
> >
> >
> >   I understood from the beginning that this show was basically meant to be 
> > a more accurate version of Disney's 'Dinosaur', or more specifically, an 
> > animated version of this comic book> http://youtu.be/X0Nz0y7qXFw. Which I 
> > personally thought was great. The model work in 'Dinosaur Revolution' was 
> > superior and more accurate than any BBC doc I've seen so far; that includes 
> > 'Planet Dinosaur'. Of course, being a made for TV show with a restricted 
> > budget on a network that has been steadily dumbing down its programs didn't 
> > help, and so it has its flaws. But, since I didn't have to pay anything to 
> > watch it, I'm not going to complain too much.
> >
> >
> >
> >> while performing Looney Tune antics and stupid pet tricks... Not that
> >> these were actual, living, breathing animals that have been brought to
> >> life using the latest scientific knowledge...
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >   This show was meant to be a form of lighthearted  xenofiction, not a 
> > David Attenborough ducumentary.  For that you have 'Planet Dinosaur'... 
> > well sort of. I mean it's almost like complaining that 'Bambi' was a 
> > horrible movie because its portrayal of North American wildlife wasn't 
> > accurate , and so it's misinforming people all over about white tailed dear.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >   Just to be clear, I do understand your disappointment, since you seem to 
> > have been expecting something rather different than what you got. But the 
> > show, for what it was meant to be, wasn't a disaster, and I thought the T. 
> > rex 'End Game' episode was great. I thought the 2nd episode was pretty good 
> > as well. I missed the 3rd episode so I can't comment on that one. I'm 
> > pretty exited about 'Planet Dinosaur' and I do prefer its more intelligent 
> > scientific approach. However, on the other hand, I do think there is a 
> > place for a less serious more family friendly show that helps get a younger 
> > audience as well as some not so paleo-savy adults interested in the subject 
> > as well.
> >
> >
> >
> > BTW if you think 'Joe Public' is bad where wherever you are, you should 
> > come to Michigan and try telling someone you are also interested in human 
> > evolution and see what kind of reactions you get ; ).
> >
> >
> >
> > Sim Koning
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2011 13:19:35 +0200
> >> From: saurierlagen1978@gmail.com
> >> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> >> Subject: Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> >>
> >> Unfortunately, I have a more pessimistic view of "joe public" and the
> >> strong influence these types of shows can have on him...
> >>
> >> Sadly, "joe public" can, and often is, *that* ignorant. Just tell
> >> anyone you meet on the street that you study dinosaurs and pay close
> >> attention to 96.8% of the reactions (you get an "awwwww, that's
> >> cute"-type of look). The lackadaisical treatment of science for the
> >> sake of sensationalism and comic-book style entertainment the kids
> >> seem to be so into these days will leave the main take away of the
> >> show to definitely be chirping cuteness lost in a fog of Purple Haze
> >> while performing Looney Tune antics and stupid pet tricks... Not that
> >> these were actual, living, breathing animals that have been brought to
> >> life using the latest scientific knowledge... and that will be the
> >> case regardless of the age of the audience.
> >>
> >> Compare that with BBC's "Planet Dinosaur", the first episode of which
> >> has been uploaded by various persons to YouTube (part 1 of 2 of an HD
> >> upload... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa0U7cvS6Ag&feature=share).
> >> Although the animation and reconstruction work isn't the greatest, and
> >> some of the inferred behaviors are questionable, the obvious emphasis
> >> is on the actual science and making these animals "real" animals and
> >> not cartoonish caricatures for the sake of entertaining grade school
> >> intellects... "Dinosaur Revolution" has been fun to watch, and the
> >> overall look of the animals are gorgeous, but it is very silly (and
> >> rather irritating... infuriating even... for anyone who knows anything
> >> about the natural world... but those sorts of folks don't make up a
> >> large enough percentage of the demographic to be the target audience,
> >> of course). Am I being uber critical, brash, bitter, and rather
> >> unrealistic in my expectations? Yes, yes I am... but I had such high
> >> hopes for "Dinosaur Revolutions"... so I just can't help myself.
> >>
> >> Bottom line is that once again, a US-associated paleo show hyping
> >> itself as depicting the "new" science/understanding of dinosaurs is
> >> misleading, disappointing, and rather insulting (but not surprising).
> >> BBC, on the other hand, has produced both an entertaining and a
> >> scientifically-based gem (fancy that).  It may not be perfect, but it
> >> is at least "smart" and gives an honest try at taking dinosaurs (and
> >> in consequence, paleontologists), seriously, without sacrificing good
> >> storytelling.
> >>
> >> It'll be interesting to see how the remaining episodes play out... and
> >> how much the narration is dumbed down and the show edited for the "joe
> >> public/plumber" audience once it makes it to the US.
> >>
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 11:03 PM, Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:
> >> >
> >> >   I'm guess I'm glad that I more or less knew what to expect. I read 
> >> > Ricardo Delgado's 'Age of the Reptiles' when I was a kid. So, when I 
> >> > read the show description and saw that his name was attached to the 
> >> > project, I pretty much expected it to be an animated version of his 
> >> > comic book series. Now I didn't think that would be a bad thing because 
> >> > I loved those comics as kid. I knew this wasn't going to be another 
> >> > 'Walking with Dinosaurs' copy cat and I basically expected it to be 
> >> > somewhat like a cartoon, minus the talking... and I'm fine with that. It 
> >> > helps that BBC has a 'WWD' clone coming out tomorrow night; I think 
> >> > variety is a good thing.
> >> >
> >> >   Regarding episode 1:
> >> >
> >> >   All right, I grew a little worried when I saw the animation, then I 
> >> > reminded myself that this is a made for tv show, not a $65 million 
> >> > dollar Hollywood production like Jurassic Park. So, I just ignored the 
> >> > low points and focused on (what I thought) was great model work. I've 
> >> > always like David's Krentz's dinosaur sculptures, and have been often 
> >> > tempted to buy some of them, so I'm quite glad he worked on this series. 
> >> > That being said, there are some minor things that bugged me: for some 
> >> > reason, it seems as though many paleo artists like to make the 
> >> > pterygoideus way too small and stiff; it also seems as if many artists 
> >> > are afraid to go the Greg Paul route and put dino fluff on all small 
> >> > theropods and ornithopods.
> >> >     Regarding the pterygoideus: I watched a video of a croc dissection 
> >> > and one of the things that was immediately apparent was just how damn 
> >> > big that muscle really is. It's easy to miss on an intact animal, as the 
> >> > muscle looks like part of the neck when relaxed, but it's there. many 
> >> > artists seem to miss this detail and instead draw/sculpt/paint the jaw 
> >> > as if it is just skin and bone. The reality is this muscle should not 
> >> > only flex visibly, but should also jiggle with movement and deform when 
> >> > the head rests against the ground. Surprisingly, despite its myriad of 
> >> > anatomical flaws, the Jurassic Park T. rex actually has it, and I think 
> >> > the bulge it creates makes for a more powerful looking jawline. David 
> >> > has already addressed this, so I'm not going to write several pages just 
> >> > to complain about it.
> >> >
> >> >   The lack of protofeathers with both Ornitholestes and Eoraptor kind of 
> >> > bugged me, but there is no proof (as far as I know) that either genera 
> >> > had them. I am inclined to think that it is more likely that a simple, 
> >> > bristly body covering combined with a mix of scales and scutes was 
> >> > common among basal ornithodirans. And I have a hunch that most if not 
> >> > all non armored small dinosaurs were at least partially fuzzy. I think 
> >> > it's probable that some lineages lost this fuzz later on in favor of 
> >> > armor or greater body mass. This may be why we've found titanosaur 
> >> > embryos and a small ceratopsian with scales, while more cursorial forms 
> >> > such as Tianyulong and small basal theropods were 'protofeathered'.
> >> >
> >> >   The anthropomorphism was a bit much in the first episode, but I was 
> >> > able to ignore it for the most part. There were a few other behavioral 
> >> > issues that just didn't make sense to me as well: mosasaurs are 
> >> > basically giant aquatic monitor lizards; monitor lizards often eat their 
> >> > own young... so why was the mamma mosasaur protecting her baby? Varanids 
> >> > and snakes are also mute, so I'm not sure I liked hearing dolphin sounds 
> >> > coming from a aquatic lizard species. I don't understand why the 
> >> > Saurosuchus threw one of the Eoraptors aside after chomping down on it 
> >> > lightly enough to not break its skin. Was it just irritated with the 
> >> > mushy dino love scene? I would have been okay with the mosquitoes if 
> >> > they just drove the dinosaurs a little nuts, but showing them kill an 
> >> > amphibian/reptile was pretty silly. Showing the male Cryolophosaurus 
> >> > destroying the offspring of a rival seemed plausible, as it's a behavior 
> >> > that can be seen in crocodilians, dolphins, house cats, lions, bears 
> >> > etc. so no problem there.
> >> > I have to say I enjoyed the 2nd episode quite a bit more than the first. 
> >> > The animation was better and its much longer narrative and more 
> >> > interesting characters helped. I'm looking forward to the T.rex episode, 
> >> > though I don't know if I'll get to see it since I don't have Discovery 
> >> > Science...
> >> >
> >> >  "It's not that these soft parts or behaviors are impossible, but Joe 
> >> > Public's only going to remember Gigantoraptor as "that goofy 
> >> > rainbow-colored thing that dances" or Eoraptor as "those raptors that 
> >> > cutely chirp and build mounds to select mates, and then care for their 
> >> > baby who adorably falls down, awwww".  So you're emphasizing the 
> >> > fictional aspects of these animals, while not going into any of the 
> >> > actual known interesting facts about them."
> >> >     I don't think "Joe Public" is *that* ignorant. I'm willing to bet 
> >> > that most older children and adults are aware that it's just a show and 
> >> > that it's mostly guesswork. The point of a show like this is not to be a 
> >> > lecture on dinosaur anatomy, it's supposed to be a semi fictional 
> >> > depiction of dinosaur life. I think all us dinosaur enthusiasts have 
> >> > conjured up similar images in our minds eye at one point or another as 
> >> > we try to guess at what these creatures were like when they were alive. 
> >> > Sadly, outside of our mind's eye, CGI is all we're going to get unless 
> >> > someone invents a time machine in the near future. I suppose someone 
> >> > could do a hyper accurate dinosaur show of this nature, and use only 
> >> > what we *know*. Think about it, the audience would get to see some 
> >> > awesome anatomical images and maybe, if we have a mostly complete 
> >> > specimen, they could be shown a black and white, silent, cg models 
> >> > spinning on a turn table... for an hour. It would be pure awesome! I 
> >> > would watch it of course... just not sure how much money it would make 
> >> > the Discovery Channel ; ).
> >> >
> >> > Sim Koning
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >> Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 04:23:00 -0700
> >> >> From: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
> >> >> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> >> >> Subject: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> I decided to review the show on my blog.  Read more at 
> >> >> http://theropoddatabase.blogspot.com/2011/09/dinosaur-revolution-review.html
> >> >>  if you enjoy scathing criticism and snarky comments.
> >> >>
> >> >> Mickey Mortimer
> >> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >
> >