Homo agasta display the beginnings of families, tool making, team work and vocal communications. Some migrate out of Africa resulting in the evolution of additional human species in different parts ...
At this stage several kinds of ape men populated Africa, each with its own unique adaptations. These species were doomed as the African continent grew increasingly arid, but a new human species well ...
On a unique underwater voyage spanning millions of years in prehistory, our dauntless presenter explores seven different seas, encountering an extraordinary variety of underwater life from ... See full summary »
This two-part series, a sequel to Walking with Dinosaurs featured Nigel and his "team of fellow explorers" encountering prehistoric life over a large range of time, and seeing creatures not featured in the original series.
Based on the latest paleontological discoveries from all continents, veteran actor John Hurt narrates the gory, bleak stories of the brutal relationship between the ancient apex predators and their gigantic herbivorous prey.
Nigel Marven travels back in time to rescue exotic creatures on the brink of extinction. CGI is used to create animals no longer seen on earth, from woolly mammoths, and T Rex, to dinosaur-eating crocodiles.
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 »
Brings to life some of the most bizarre, ferocious and fascinating creatures to ever inhabit the ocean. Combines animation with recreations in a prehistoric adventure. A journey to the ... See full summary »
Sean MacLeod Phillips
The story of human evolution is told through the stories of representative members of the various species leading up to modern homo sapiens. It is ongoing climate changes that force human ancestors to develop, one by one, the unique characteristics of the modern humans. Though earlier species were superbly successful in their environments they were unsustainable when the environment changes.Written by
In Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (2001), the Australopithecus were portrayed via computer graphics and animatronic puppets because of their non-humanlike proportions. In this show, they are all actors wearing extensive makeup (minus the baby Australopithecus, which is of course a puppet). This method sacrificed anatomical accuracy for more expressive and diverse characters. See more »
Since all the ape-men are modern-day actors wearing makeup, this means that several species have the wrong body proportions and also a much taller head. See more »
Potentially good program ruined by ridiculous presentation
I wanted to enjoy the "Walking With Cavemen" series and there were moments that were informative and sufficiently awe inspiring. The atmosphere of a serious look at human evolution was severely compromised, however, by the completely ridiculous insertion of the presenter, Robert Winston, into the action, as if he was traveling back in time to witness our ancestors first hand. Not only does Robert Winston have a silly looking mustache and an annoying manner, but we have to watch him racing about the prehistoric world in a variety of vehicles, as if he was the star of an action movie. In several hilarious moments, we even see Winston exchanging "meaningful" glances with our ape-like ancestors. By the time I saw Winston hovering above Africa, observing our ancestors from a hot air balloon, I was about ready to chuck the DVD out of the window in despair.
Even if you take Winston out of the equation, this documentary is sketchy and implausible at best. The "script-writers" can't seem to resist building narratives out of the lives of our ancestors, for example, in the whole situation with "Lucy" and her baby, which is presented as if it was an actual scenario that took place. Every point that is made is essentially presented as "fact", and while I am no expert on the subject, I found myself immediately questioning how they could possibly know these things. For example, Winston seemed quite insistent that the Neanderthals had "no imagination". Philosophical speculation about imagination being an essential component of consciousness aside, the discoveries of what appear to be burial grounds, complete with residues of garlanded flowers about the skulls of dead Neanderthals, was completely ignored, and would suggest that the Neanderthals did indeed have sufficient imagination to at least have some sort of concept of an afterlife. The documentary went on and on, presenting little in the way of evidence for any of the assertions it put forward or the scenarios that were constructed, which were often embarrassingly cheesy and played for comic effect.
As a work of fiction and imagination, perhaps, the "documentary" did succeed on some level, and the overwhelmingly interesting nature of the subject matter could not be completely sabotaged by the manner of presentation. But even the make-up, acting and special effects employed in the depiction of our ancestors had not progressed to any significant degree from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film made more than thirty years beforehand. Particularly laughable was a moment when several of our ancestors were confronted by a giant and angry gorilla in the prehistoric jungles of Asia, which played out like something from a fifties B-movie about Cavemen vs. the Monsters.
"Walking With Cavemen" is still a mildly entertaining and informative program, if not to be taken entirely seriously as a genuine presentation of science. The less heralded (and unfortunately still unavailable on DVD) Channel 4 presentation "Neanderthal", was a much better effort.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this