Expectations that were actually mostly lived up to, a good thing for me having seen my fair share of wastes of potential recently. 'Walking with Beasts' is not one of the best documentaries personally seen (far from it), and there are better ones on the subject of dinosaurs. It is also not as ground-breaking as 'Walking with Dinosaurs', as far as dinosaur documentaries go, still a big achievement to this day. Standing on its own without comparing it to anything, 'Walking with Beasts' was very interesting and mostly very well done.
Once again the fourth episode "Next of Kin" is very good.
Sure "Next of Kin" isn't perfect. Sometimes the dinosaur effects are on the stiff side in movement.
Did actually appreciate the storytelling approach "Next of Kin", and 'Walking with Beasts' in general, took and it made it entertaining and emotionally investable and it was never less than compelling. It did get in the way at times though too much of the documentary aspect, which interested and compelled throughout but there could have been more focus on the evidence and such to stop things from being too speculative.
However, when it comes to how it's written, "Next of Kin" does just as good a job entertaining and teaching, it's all very sincerely done and it never feels like a sermon. There are things here that are common sense and knowledge but one is taught a huge deal as wel (mostly the latter).
Kenneth Branagh's narration delivery is similarly spot-on, very sensitively delivered and very dignified, his expertise in Shakespeare helps the delivery. The narration is comprehensive and sincere, with a good balance of things known to me and things new to me (really like it when documentaries do that), as well as compelling.
Visually, "Next of Kin" may lack the awe-inspiring, almost cinematic quality one anticipates. With that being said, it is beautifully shot, shot in a fluid and non-static way. The sceneries and landscapes are handsomely rendered and mostly the dinosaur effects are impressive.
"Next of Kin" is appropriately scored, never intrusive or too low-key. There is fun, tension and pathos throughout and the dinosaurs, prey and predator, are like characters that one cares for in the same way they do a human. The documentary aspect is grounded and well researched, coming over as if there was evidence to corroborate what was said.
Overall, very good though could have been great. 8/10 Bethany Cox