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Prehistoric Beast (1985)

| Animation, Short, Drama
In a dense forest, a monoceratops-type plant-eating dinosaur is stalked by a carnivorous Tyrannosaurus rex.


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In a dense forest, a monoceratops-type plant-eating dinosaur is stalked by a carnivorous Tyrannosaurus rex.

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As the Monoclonius backs up into the dead dinosaur behind him, the arm of the corpse can been seen to suddenly move several inches for no reason. See more »


References King Kong (1933) See more »

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Phil Tippet's Prelude to his Work in Jurassic Park
23 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

Garner Truett said that "Following the completion of his visual effects work on "Return of the Jedi," Phil Tippett wanted to make his own kind of film, a short stop-motion film featuring a few dinosaurs, and produced on a low budget. Created during the years of 1983 to 1985, the result was the twelve-minute-long "Prehistoric Beast." It featured a _Tyrannosaurus_ pursuing and killing a William-Stout-like _Monoclonius_ (which eats flowers) and was included in one of the touring "Festivals of Animation." Additional stop-motion footage of a _Maiasaura_ family, a _Deinonychus_ pair, _Struthiomimus_, unidentified *sauropods* eating conifer twigs, and asteroid impact effects were also filmed and incorporated into the one-hour CBS television special, "Dinosaur!" which debuted in 1986.

The host is Christopher Reeve, and other material includes talks with paleontologists (including Jack Horner), a segment on welded dinosaur art, and scenes of kids who love playing with dinosaurs. I believe that it is readily available on video in VHS format. (I've seen it for sale at Toys-R-Us).

The stop-motion footage is remarkable, usually playing out against a combination of miniature model scenery and painted backdrops or front-projected slide photographs of natural settings. By mounting "running" stop-motion models on rods covered with front-projection material, and moving the rods as frames of film were exposed, Tippett was able to impart a motion blur to the animals for a more naturalistic effect (a similar technique to Tippett's limited "go-motion" work on the running taun-tauns in "The Empire Strikes Back"). For some shots, it was necessary to project motion picture footage of moving backgrounds a frame at a time behind the animation models.

The footage was designed to look just like a contemporary nature documentary, with lens flares in the camera, and the camera searching for the animals as they moves in and out of the frame. The filmmakers studied such documentary programs as "Wild Kingdom" before planning the shots, and the footage is, basically, the sort of dinosaur footage of prehistoric animals going about their business that many on this list would enjoy seeing some day in a feature film. Tippett consulted Rob Long and other paleontologists at U.C. Berkeley.

As everyone probably knows, Tippett went on from "Dinosaur!" to create dinosaurs for the two Jurassic Park films."

And I will say that I'll include Phil Tippett's Prehistoric Beast and the 1985 CBS TV Christopher Reeve special, Dinosaur! as part of the Dexter's Odyssey DVDs between November 2012 and November 2013. Can't wait to see Phil Tippet's Prehistoric Beast! It will be totally awesome dude!

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