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Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review



Of course if you want a sci-fi film that portrays futuristic space travel 
realistically, you want the Citizen Kane of sci-fi movies, 2001. At its 
premiere it  actually came out with an explanatory note relating to the scene 
in which Dave Bowman is briefly in a vacuum, and Clarke apologized for the 
scene in which food being sucked up in a straw falls back down again (which 
wouldn't happen on zero-G). They cared back then. 

Ronald Orenstein 
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, ON
Canada L5L 3W2

On 2011-09-18, at 5:25 PM, Sim Koning <simkoning@msn.com> wrote:

> 
>   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 ho!
ld!
> 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
>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>