Plot: What’s it about?
We often hear about distant expeditions to unearth relics of the age of the dinosaurs, but here, we harken back to a time When Dinosaurs Roamed America. On the lands now covered with suburbs, swimming pools, and massive highways, a lot of history has passed and somewhere in there were the dinosaurs. Even as the continent of North America first broke apart from Africa, the path was being prepared for these beasts, who once ruled the planet in supreme fashion. Some were giant carnivores who terrorized the others, while some were passive, but strong plant eaters, who were more laid back. But from one coast to another, this land was once overrun with these creatures, during a time much different than our own. But now through the magic of computer graphics, we’re taken back to that era, with John Goodman (The Big Lebowski, Blues Brothers 2000) as our narrator and guide. So sit back, relax, and prepare for a wild ride, as we venture back to When Dinosaurs Roamed America.
I’ve always enjoyed documentaries on dinosaurs, so I was looking forward to this release, based on other recent computer graphics driven dinosaur titles. Much like Walking with Dinosaurs and the like, When Dinosaurs Roamed America uses advanced computer graphics to provide a realistic look inside the life of dinosaurs. But instead of a far away glimpse, this titles takes us right into our own backyards, as we explore the dinosaurs that ruled America’s landscape at one time. From the earliest species all down the line, this piece sheds light on which creatures called these lands home, as well as their various habits and lifestyles. I found this to be a well made and very informative documentary, so both children and adults should be pleased here. The stunning visuals will dazzle both young and old audiences, while the wealth of information is well presented, so it never bogs down or becomes dull, even for a second. And since Artisan has assembled a terrific overall disc here, I highly recommend this release to anyone interested.
Video: How does it look?
When Dinosaurs Roamed America is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The seamless blend of real locations and computer graphics is well preserved here, thanks to a clean and very sharp visual presentation. The colors stream across the screen, as hues look radiant, but never become overly rich. I saw no errors with contrast either, as black levels were on the mark on and never faltered. This is a terrific visual treatment, which more than does this material justice and I doubt anyone will be let down.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio here is well presented, although you won’t want to use this disc to show off your home theater system. But the material is well handled and while a few scenes could use a boost, I was never too let down here. The narration is crisp and never hard to understand, while the sound effects come across in fine form also, no real errors to discuss. As I mentioned, a few sequences could benefit from some enhanced surround presence, but on the whole, this track is more than up to the task, I think.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Artisan has put together a terrific package here, with a lot of cool supplements that enhance the experience. You’ll find some dinosaur graphics, a dinosaur quiz, biographies, and some additional dinosaur facts, but that’s just the start here. You’ll also be able to view two short behind the scenes featurettes, an animator interview session, a paleontologist interview, look at the musical score, a music video, and a Discovery Channel weblink. A lot of small features to be sure, but good ones and ones that provide even more dinosaur information.