Dinosaur Revolution (released under its Working Title, Reign of the Dinosaurs in Europe) is a major dinosaur-related Discovery ChannelTV Documentary, which debuted on September 4, 2011.Calling it a "documentary" may however be deceptive. It combines elements of various genres: traditional wildlife documentaries, silent movie-style "acting" and comic cartoon Slapstick, and presents them in the form of vignettes or longer, cohesive stories, focusing on the characterization and the relationships between the animals. As always, whether this makes the show more entertaining or just plain dumb is up to the viewer to decide. However this isn't the first time that Discovery uses this borderline-Edutainment Show format for its dino-shows.There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the production, due to the bold claims of its creators, which can be read here. Basically, what the show set out to avoid was making paleontologists cry, and to show off some breath-takingCGI. Another major subject of discussion is the "sparse narration" the press releases promised. Do note, the slightly controversial dino-anthropomorphism is justified due to the fact that originally, the show was to be broadcast with no Narrator, but Executive Meddling changed that.A feature film version, re-cut to a format truer to the production's original intent, titled Dinotasia, was released in a select few UK theaters on May 4th, 2012. It received a brand new narration by Werner Herzog. The re-cut, sadly, wasn't exactly met with warm reception by critics, who cited the uneven effects quality, loose storytelling structure, cartoony personification of the animals and the lack of real educational value as its main drawbacks, though some reviewers claimed they found its bizarreness amusing in a weird sort of way.
The work provides examples of:
All Animals Are Dogs: Some people have observed that the Allosaurus cub acts suspiciously like a playful pup.
All There in the Script: Many (if not all) of the characters have nicknames that were used during the production of the show, but are never mentioned in the final product. The exact genus and species (if any) of many of the animals featured also fall under this, and have only been revealed through Word Of God.
Always a Bigger Fish: Non-predatory example. After eating a young Majungasaurus, one of the Beelzebufo is stepped on by a Rapetosaurus passing through.
The Castorocauda is spotted by the Guanlong while chasing... a fish.
Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted when the Cryolophosaurus destroys his rival's eggs. However, played straight when he doesn't actually kill his opponent. There's a similar case with the Tyrannosaurus. (However, the protagonist Tyrannosaurus and his mate do kill the "Big Bad" Tyrannosaurus during a rematch.)
Averted by a cannibalistic Anhanguera that kills one of the young Anhanguera.
Apocalypse How: The show begins with the Permian extinction and ends with the Cretaceous extinction, both of which very easily attained a class 4.
Bad Ass: Many characters, including the Saurosuchus, the mother Mosasaurus and the Torvosaurus qualify. The Tyrannosaurus rex is also a given qualifier.
The Allosaurus qualifies somewhat as a Handicapped Bad Ass at times, especially considering the fact that it did a major feat by managing to survive a broken jaw back when it was a baby and is STILL alive and kicking.
The adult Majungasaurus. It's not as readily apparent as the other examples here (as the story it's shown in focuses more on smaller animals), but it is shown to succeed in killing an adult sauropod. Considering that nearly all other encounters between theropods and sauropods in this show end badly for the theropods, that's saying a lot.
The old bull Protoceratops in the Protoceratops story.
Big Guy, Little Guy: The Allosaurus and Rhamphorhynchus. The Rhamphorhynchus also switches over to a Torvosaurus in a brief stint.
The Rapetosaurus and Rahonavis, though in this case the Rahonavis sticks with whichever Rapetosaurus that passes by instead of any particular individual.
Bittersweet Ending: The Protoceratops story ends with the young Protoceratops finding a new family, but the old Protoceratops who protected it chooses to abandon them and die alone.
Bloodless Carnage: The Ischigualastia herd attacks and seemingly kills the Saurosuchus, although the Saurosuchus appears to take down one of the Ischigualastia with it. Neither of their bodies show much sign of injury after the fight, despite the several "stabbing" sound-effects you can hear during the fight.
Bolivian Army Ending: The Guanlong story. The eventual fate of the female Troodon could probably be considered one as well.
Book Ends: The first episode starts with an extinction, and the last episode ends with an extinction.
Bullet Time: The Cryolophosaurus fight had a lot of this.
Butt Monkey: The poor Torvosaurus turns into this, since every animal around the water hole is out to get him, even the much smaller Allosaurus. He does have a brief Who's Laughing Now? moment, but it doesn't last. As such, this can be seen as a powerful Deconstruction of the Prehistoric Monster cliché, as it's the seemingly most Bad Ass creature in town who gets shoved around, and even killed.
The Ornitholestes (both one particular individual as well as the species as a whole).
Camp Straight / Gay: Matt Lamanna seems to be trying to invoke this as much as possible with his voice alone.
Carnivore Confusion: In general, the predators are portrayed as real predators, just doing what they do. Nonetheless, predators that threaten the protagonist animal in each story are often portrayed as antagonistic in a sense and generally get their comeuppance.
Downer Ending: The Cryolophosaurus story, Guanlong story, Utahraptor story, and part of the the Protoceratops story, as well as the ending of the last episode.
And not just the dinosaur part, mind you. The final shot leaves us with a view of an asteroid hovering above Earth, in present day. The talking heads inform us that humanity will die. Oh, dear.
Drunken Master: The Shunosaurus, after ingesting some hallucinogenic mushrooms, is attacked by a pair of Sinraptor. It ends up hanging off the side of a steep slope, but in its throes it flicks one Sinraptor away with its tail club and crushes the other one under its weight.
Eats Babies: Probelesodon, the sharks, Cryolophosaurus, Torvosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, the mammals in the last episode, the cannibalistic Anhanguera, and Beelzebufo. Saurosuchus, Troodon, Utahraptor, Velociraptor, the notosuchians in the Anhanguera story, and Allosaurus try to, but aren't shown succeeding.
Edible Bludgeon: The still moving tail of a Dinheirosaurus slaps the Allosaurus eating it in the face. A mild subversion, since the food is acting by itself.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The ultimate ending of the Jurassic Antarctic story ends this way, with the "antagonistic" male Glacialisaurus chased by the "antagonistic" male Cryolophosaurus, which is in turn trying to flee from a swarm of mosquitoes.
Eye Scream: Happens a few times in the Utahraptor segment.
Facial Markings: The male Tyrannosaurus appear to have a striking white skull-pattern on their head, in contrast to their otherwise fully black body.
Feathered Fiend: The feathered dinosaurs Gigantoraptor, Rahonavis, Tyrannosaurus, and Troodon are protagonists in their respective stories, but Velociraptor and arguably Guanlong and Utahraptor are antagonistic and play this straight (and there's also an antagonistic Tyrannosaurus, although it's never shown in its fuzzy juvenile stage). Properly feathered carnivorous dinosaurs on TV, finally! At least, as properly as their budget allowed them to, feathers and fur being tough to animate.
The one coelurosaur that lacks feathers (due to time constraints) is Ornitholestes, though it also happens to be one of the more Hand Wave-able instances because of its uncertain phylogenetic position. For most part it serves as something of a Plucky Comic Relief.
Foot Focus: Happens frequently with the deinonychosaurs.
Giant Swimmer: Tylosaurus, but the sharks and various aquatic pseudosuchians are also fairly large.
Gorn: Difficult to avoid when making a flashy dinosaur show.
The baby Allosaurus's broken jaw is one instance of this. It's quite horrific to look at and even makes the mother have a double take.
The death of the antagonistic Tyrannosaurus, with huge amounts of blood gushing from its neck.
Gory Discretion Shot: Often averted, but strangely played straight in both of the long stories in similar situations. In both cases the protagonist moves in to feed on the body of the story's Big Bad, but does so just outside of the camera frame.
Groin Attack: The Torvosaurus bites the Allosaurus in its pubic region during their first fight.
Hope Spot: The Guanlongsafely get off the back of a sauropod they were stuck on, only to find themselves stranded on an island surrounded by crocodylomorphs.
Ultimately, the one surviving young Tyrannosaurus. The one surviving Troodon egg is implied to be one as well.
The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: The Guanglong story ends with the two goofs (the Guanlongs) trapped on a small island, surrounded by crocodilians.
This also happens to the Castorocauda, Ornitholestes, Rhamphorhynchus, and young Anhanguera at certain points, though they manage to survive.
Infant Immortality: Averted. What more, its aversion is played for laughs in the Anhanguera story.
Informed Ability: The Ornitholestes is introduced as a resourceful predator, but never actually succeeds in catching anything on screen.
The Utahraptors have it worse. While the narration and talking heads describe them as the baddest killers ever, the animation shows them getting their butts kicked (literally).
The narrator claims that Castorocauda "has many beaver-like traits that help it survive", but it is never shown doing anything beaver like. Similarly, the Volaticotherium is said to act like a flying squirrel, but it's portrayed more like a gliding bat, catching insects in midair.
Karma Houdini: Mama Anhanguera, who throws off her offspring to die in an attempt to have them learn to fly. This wouldn't generally receive any mention (this is, after all, still a documentary, and wild animals get away with things are are far more morally repulsive from a human point of view), except for the fact that karma IS very prevalent in the rest of the series, due to its comedic tendecies.
She does end up getting crab bits splattered repeatedly in her face. Not exactly punishment, but she is at least humiliated (in the eyes of the viewer).
Also Rahonavis, who sends two baby Majungasaurus to their deaths at the mouths of Beelzebuforather unnecessarily, considering it could fly (and was already safe from the Majungasaurus when it did so).
Subverted by the antagonistic Cryolophosaurus, which gets a The Bad Guy Wins treatment at first, but then shows up in the Glacialisaurus story where it encounters a swarm of mosquitoes...
Lethal Lava Land: Much of Earth's surface turns into this when the Permaian extinction occurs.
Mama Bear: The mosasaur, Tyrannosaurus, and Eoraptor. Subverted by the Cryolophosaurus, which just stands there and allows her eggs to be destroyed. The Dinheirosaurus, Cedarosaurus, and Miragaia are probably either this or Papa Wolf, as their genders are never specified.
Averted by mama Anhanguera, which cares more about whereas its children fly off the nest rather than their own lives. Possibly Fridge Brilliance in that pterosaurs probably weren't a very maternal lot, what with the fact that their offspring flew within days after birth and all.
Mood Whiplash: One moment we see the young Tyrannosaurus playing, the next they are killed by an adult Tyrannosaurus.
Also later in the same episode, much hilarity is happening around the old Ankylosaurus. We first see the Troodon chasing a juvenile pachycephalosaur, which tries to seek shelter underneath the Ankylosaurus, while the Ankylosaurus is seemingly oblivious to all this, even accidentally sitting on the male Troodon. Later, the young T. rex playfully tries to attack the Ankylosaurus, only to get knocked to the ground. Funny stuff. Then it chases the pair of Troodon into a cave. How cute. Oh, shock, the meteorite hits and almost everyone outside is killed! The rex finds the twisted corpses of its parents. How tragic. But wait, the solemn moment can't last, there is a mammal to catch. And the clumsy juvenile trips and falls. How funny. And there the rex lies on the bottom of the cliff, with a broken skull, in a puddle of blood. How... what now?
The antics of the ill-fated Guanlong duo are meant to be amusing at first... until they end up stranded on a small island surrounded by crocodyliforms. (Although, mind you, it's not entirely clear on whether they're sympathetic characters or not.)
The young Protoceratops bonds with the old bull and they manage to reach a herd of other Protoceratops (who also scare away the two Velociraptor trying to ambush them). Then, as we see the juvenile being integrated into the herd, the old Protoceratops turns around and walks away, and we then see him traveling down to a Protoceratops graveyard where he lies down peacefully...
It's brief, but when most of the Anhanguera story (even the deaths of the young Anhanguera) is played for laughs, it's a quick jolt back to reality when we see the broken body of one of the Anhanguera being scavenged by crabs.
Mushroom Samba: What befalls the Shunosaurus who tries some tasty-looking mushrooms.
Narrating The Obvious: A persistent problem in the original TV broadcast due to the show being originally intended to do without narration at all.
Never Smile at a Crocodile: Several crocodile relatives show up, including Saurosuchus, a generic aquatic Cretaceous crocodyliform, some generic aquatic Jurassic crocodyliforms, and a generic notosuchian. Just about all of them are antagonistic.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Cryolophosaurus fight, as well as the first encounter between the Allosaurus and Torvosaurus.
Ptero Soarer: Mostly averted at least by the Anhanguera. The implied extended parental care is less acceptable, however. The Rhamphorhynchus appears to lack pycnofibers and doesn't use a quadrupedal launch. Quetzalcoatlus shows up, but not enough of it is shown to determine its accuracy.
Also note that Rhamphorhynchus is thought to have had behaved like modern nocturnal sea birds (avoiding thus competition from diurnal pterosaurs that also hunted fish in the same regions), thus seeing one far from the open sea and on daylight would not be very common.
We do get to see the Quetzalcoatlus (or at least a similar azhdarchid; none of the azhdarchids shown are reffered to as any particular genus) up close in the third episode (in a blink and you miss scene in the Protoceratops segment); they are largely quite accurate, if maybe displaced in time and space (if they're not just generic azhdarchids).
Raptor Attack: Anatomically mostly averted at least by the Rahonavis, Velociraptor, Utahraptor, and Troodon. They even have primary feathers, something previous documentaries (and depictions in general) tended to get wrong.
Re Cut: Dinotasia, or at least it's as close as we'll probably get to one.
Roger Rabbit Effect: In a few shots (particularly those after the end credits), some of the CGI animals show up at the lab that the talking heads are shown in.
Rule Of Cool: Some features of certain animals, like the crest of Cryolophosaurus or the tail club of Shunosaurus, had to be enhanced at the expense of scientific accuracy, just so that the audience would find them more interesting.
The mosquito swarm actually killing a large lizard.
It's implied that the Torvosaurus actually succeeds in killing a herd of adultMiragaia. The original script has it kill just a Miragaiacalf (which it also does later in the episode).
The Castorocauda uses a skunk-like musk to defend itself.
The ability of the Rahonavis to mimic sounds.
The coloration of the Tyrannosaurus rex's face causes it to resemble a human skull when viewed head-on.
Rule of Funny: As awkward as such moment are in a documentary, this show does have a sense of humor, as animation allows for much better timing than filming real animals would.
Science Marches On: The discovery that mosasaurs likely had tail flukes was published just as the mosasaur models were finished up.
Yutyrannus shows that large tyrannosauroids were feathered as well as smaller ones.
Seldom Seen Species: A refreshing lot. There are Cryolophosaurus, Sinraptor, Eoraptor, Torvosaurus, Majungasaurus, Rahonavis, Miragaia, Glacialisaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Rapetosaurus, Lusotitan, Shunosaurus, Gigantoraptor, Draconyx, Cedarosaurus, Guanlong, freakin' Dinheirosaurus... But the most interesting examples are the non-dinosaurian Saurosuchus, Anhanguera, Castorocauda (a water-going mammal relative), Volaticotherium (the Jurassic "flying squirrel"), Probelesodon (a non-mammalian cynodont), Zalambdalestes (a small eutherian mammal), Ischigualastia (a dicynodont), Inostrancevia (a gorgonopsid), Cretoxyrhina (a shark), and the (by modern standards) ungodly large frog Beelzebufo. Many of these were discovered while the show was still in production.
Even among Stock Dinosaur genera, the show tends to use Seldom Seen Species (such as Allosaurus europaeus, Velociraptor osmolskae, and Protoceratops hellenikorhinus instead of the stock Allosaurus fragilis, Velociraptor mongoliensis, and Protoceratops andrewsi).
Sexy Discretion Shot: Not quite. We see a pair of Tyrannosaurus getting it on, and only after a few seconds does the camera cut to another scene.
Shout Out: As a Cryolophosaurus lunges at its opponent, for a brief moment they imitate Charles R. Knight's famous dinosaur painting, Leaping Laelaps◊. Earlier, it uses a kangaroo kick, a homage to Gregory Paul's art.
Similarly, the character designs and relationships between the Rhamphorhynchus, Ornitholestes, and Allosaurus are based on Tweety, Sylvester, and the bulldog.
The Ornitholestes gets a ring of bark stuck around its neck, making it resemble the Jurassic ParkDilophosaurus.
Heck, an Ornitholestes in a tree could be construed as another Greg Paul reference.
The mosquito in the amber that appears just before the Glacialisaurus scene is also an obvious homage to Jurassic Park.
The sequence where everyone beats up on the Torvosaurus was inspired by the Battle at Kruger wildlife video.
Episode 3's opening battle also has elements of the Battle at Kruger, and actually has more in common with it rather than the Torvosaurus beat-up scene.
The end of the second episode has a Mythbusters type sequence where the model of a diplodocoid tail is used on the model of an Allosaurus jaw to see how much damage it could inflict. One idea suggested during production was to have one of these sequences in each episode, but this was scrapped.
The cold opening of the third episode is similar to a scene in Raptor Red.
Several elements of the show were inspired by a French film about grizzly bears called The Bear, which (as was originally planned for Dinosaur Revolution) told a story about wildlife without using narration.
The way one of the Cedarosaurus kicks away the Utahraptor is similar to to a scene portrayed in the accompanying artwork for the description of the sauropod Brontomerus.
A clip of the show on Discovery's website is called Jurassic Fight Club (keep in mind that JFC and DR aired on two different networks with two different owners).
Their Triceratops skin is even based on their personal examination of the skin shown on an unpublished Triceratops specimen.
The Troodon are shown to be omnivores, and the males are responsible for brooding the nest.
This is probably the first show to feature correct ceratopsian hands (the outer two toes shouldn't touch the ground).
While not particularly recent discoveries, this show gets the abelisaurid and sauropod hands right when most other depictions do not.
The show avoids the common meme of having female theropods larger than the males. While this idea is not unreasonable, it is based on only circumstantial evidence and isn't anywhere as set in stone as commonly portrayed.
The juvenile pachycephalosaur in the last episode is not intended to be any particular species, in order to avoid the whole Hell Creek pachycephalosaur ontogenetic debate (and because the model was going to be used for Prenocephale).
Slapstick: There is a considerable amount. Yes, it's a "documentary" with tons of animal slapstick from grotesque to cutesy, deal with it.
Due to time constraints, the Ornitholestes is the one coelurosaur on the show that lacks feathers.
Some paleontologists have criticized the social lifestyles shown for some of the dinosaurs and especially the mosasaurs and pterosaurs for being implausible. One of the main paleontologists who worked on the show has even said that he disowns the mosasaur segment. Tellingly, the mosasaur story was completed before it was ran by the consultants.
The Ischigualastia and Pachycephalosaurusnote Or that's what it's called on the Discovery Channel website, but said by some other sources to be a generic pachycephalosaur, not any intended species don't particularly resemble the genera they are supposed to be, as the models were originally intended to be used for Placerias and Prenocephale respectively.
Protoceratops has one and Triceratops two front foot-claws more than they should. Common error, very easy to commit.
Volaticotherium is unlikely to have been agile enough to catch insects in the air.
The Stinger: At the end of Dinotasia, the Rahonavis shows up in the lab and mimics the noises made by the camera.
Stock Dinosaurs: Not as many as one might expect. They include T. rex, Triceratops, Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Velociraptor and Protoceratops. Non-dinosaurian stock creatures include Quetzalcoatlus, Rhamphorhynchus and mosasaurs.
However, it's worthy to note that even among many stock genera, the show tends to use the less often-portrayed species of those genera (such as Allosaurus europaeus, Velociraptor osmolskae, and Protoceratops hellenikorhinus instead of the stock Allosaurus fragilis, Velociraptor mongoliensis, and Protoceratops andrewsi).
Super Persistent Predator: The Ornitholestes to the Rhamphorhynchus, as a parody of Sylvester and Tweety, to the point that the Ornitholestes leaves the watering hole still chasing the Rhamphorhynchus!
Talking Heads: In spite of original plans not to have these in the show itself.
Those Two Bad Guys: Let's see, there's Sinraptor, Guanlong, Velociraptor and the Majungasaurus babies.
Too Dumb to Live: Towards the end of the fourth episode not long after the meteor hits Earth, the younger tyrannosaur stands on a cliff overlooking his dead parents. A mammal runs into frame and he charges at it, only to fall off the cliff and die.
A fish being chased by the Castorocauda tries to escape by leaping onto land (!?!?) and flopping away from the water...!?!?
Trailers Always Spoil: Not the trailer itself, but the promotional material contains a number of spoilers. One of the earliest clips released showed the death of the Torvosaurus. One of the flipcards on the Discovery website shows the very end of the last episode.
This even happens within the show itself! Many of the preview clips (shown during talking head segments or before commercials) give away much of what is going to happen next.
The death of the antagonistic Tyrannosaurus was also spoiled in promotional materials and the Dinotasia trailer, but having been taken out of context the events leading up to it can still come across as a surprise. The images and footage of the death itself may make it look like the Tyrannosaurus died fighting a Triceratops, when it was really fighting the protagonist Tyrannosaurus and was knocked onto a Triceratops carcass.
Voice Changeling: The Rahonavis amuses itself with its ability to copy the noises around it almost perfectly.
What Happened to the Mouse?: One moment three Ischigualastia attack the Saurosuchus, the next the Saurosuchus appears to be fighting just one Ischigualastia. One Ischigualastia does show up later in the background, but it still looks like they vanished halfway through the fight.