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When Dinosaurs Roamed America (2001)

TV Movie  -   -  Animation | Documentary  -  1 January 2001 (UK)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 207 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 3 critic

The life of American dinosaurs is seen in amazing detail. The Feathered Dromeosaurs (Raptors) debut on this film along with the bizarre Therizinosaur. Each story is compelling and ... See full summary »

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Title: When Dinosaurs Roamed America (TV Movie 2001)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

The life of American dinosaurs is seen in amazing detail. The Feathered Dromeosaurs (Raptors) debut on this film along with the bizarre Therizinosaur. Each story is compelling and well-written. From a Coelophysis exploring the world around him to a teenage Tyrannosaurus learning from his mother how to hunt and even a love story between two Stegosaurus. This film also shows audiences real fossil finds and museum displays to show the researcher's work. This is educational, thrilling, and is a well-executed Discovery Channel response to BBC's ground-breaking "Walking with Dinosaurs" miniseries. Written by Preston Michael Simpson

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dinosaur | See All (1) »

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After 65 million years... they're back.


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Unrated
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1 January 2001 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Dinosaurier erobern die Welt  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dinosaur referred to as Syntarsus was, since this program had been made, renamed Megapnosaurus, since its former name had been already taken by a kind of beetle. See more »

Goofs

When the Dilophosaurus kills the Anchisaurus, and starts to feed, take a look at the head of the dead animal: it actually rises up into the open jaw of the predator. This particular part of the shot is in fact reversed, because not only does the Anchisaurus's head rise up, the Dilophosaurus also repeats its motions, this time backwards. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Before We Ruled the Earth: Hunt or Be Hunted (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
When dinosaurs wore red-white-striped flags and sang happily together, "we're all Americans".
1 June 2002 | by (Bavaria, Germany) – See all my reviews

Oh – my – God. 5 million Dollars in the making, millions of Americans watching it on TV and above all, made in 2001, which means not so long ago.

But I can't get rid of the feeling those money-thirsty studio-bosses were sitting around thinking `hey, the BBC made a lot of money with this dino-crap, and money is money, right? So let's make one ourselves.' Well, they did. And they made everything most Americans want to see on TV: sex, crime, and a lot of patriotism. Watching this `documentary' (by the way, it is an insult to call it this way for all real documentaries) made me remember how good the BBC documentaries `Walking with Dinosaurs', `The Ballad of Big Al' and `Walking with Beasts' were. Of course, the scientific aspect was more or less secondary, because it was supposed to entertain and to show great pictures of a species that has been extinct for more than 65 million years, but they showed you something, they brought those dinos in your living room, they accompanied them sometimes for a lifetime and made it comprehensible what life must have been like those days.

`When Dinosaurs Roamed America' doesn't even bother using scientific terms, it doesn't bother explaining why things were as they were. All that matters is, that all dinosaurs just lived in America, they always have and always would (if they hadn't been struck by that bad, bad meteor). There were no dinosaurs outside of America, simply because nothing of the rest of the world did exist except America – right? No!!! What – the audience wouldn't have known where `Spain' was that 65 million years ago? Oh, I see, `we just want to show which dinosaurs were in America at that time'. The USA then weren't even at the place they are now!

So, if you can enjoy patriotic dinosaurs (and believe me, it is very, very, very hard to) and you are willing to watch mediocre, or to say the least: bad, special effects, then you might enjoy this boring piece of junk. The animations of those animals were so badly done via CGI, that it even hurt my eyes. The proportions weren't right and Triceratopses who lay on the ground, rolling around on their backs? My goodness, please tell them to stop! The dinosaurs looked as if they were made by CGI, and that's what they were: smooth surface, unbearable bad animation and wannabe `new' sound-effects that sounded so mechanical, that I really really doubt those dinos could have done it without a synthesizer at their claws.

What made the BBC documentaries so good/special/unique was, that they actually used mechanical puppets from time to time (especially with the close-up shots) and that's the same in the Hollywood-Blockbuster `Jurassic Park'. Here, everything was done by CGI, and you see it, you see it in every scene. And to be honest, it looks not just terrible, but ... well, there's almost no way to say it – except: it looked like crap.

But all that is crowned by a wannabe scientific (and cool at the same time) commentary who speaks of `how the animals turned on each other, how they get sexy and stuff'. Boy, even the Sesame Street could have come up with more accurate comments on dinos.

What remains is the impression that some guy in the office thought the BBC wasn't the only one who could do a documentary about dinosaurs, and since it sells, it is done. Mixed with everything an average audience wants (even patriotism and `standing-together-against-the-bad-ones among the dinos) and et voilà – here you have it. 5 million dollars blown in the wind, oh, not in the wind exactly, because it had a tremendous success and most people who watched it, actually thought it was good!

Scientific content: 2 %, special effects: 0 % (the first BBC documentary was in 1999, and that looked better than anything I've seen in `When Dinosaurs Roamed America'), entertainment level: -100 %.

When I see how many high ratings this show gets here on IMDB, I don't have to wonder why the BBC docs get an `American narrator' for US dubbing, although it's basically the same language. Why? Because most of the audience wouldn't notice a good dino-documentary when it bites them, but they cheer to everything that sounds and feels like American, and above all, that says `made in USA' beneath it.


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