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Western Animation / March of the Dinosaurs

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March of the Dinosaurs (2011) is a feature-length Speculative Documentary film made by ITV. It tells the story of two different dinosaur youngsters: Scar, a small Edmontosaurus trying to keep up with his herd on their long journey south; and Patch, a sub-adult Troodon who struggles to survive and find a mate in the freezing wilderness of the North Pole.

Its complete imagery has been created with the help of CGI, as opposed to many similar programs that use real-life environments and only CGI the animals. The film features no cut-away scenes or any talking heads, but instead (much like the famed Walking with Dinosaurs) focuses on telling a story through its visuals and narration provided by Stephen Fry. It can be seen as the first of a new generation of CGI dinosaur documentaries.

Due to the way it "humanizes" some of the dinosaurs, the program is also very similar to Discovery Channel's Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Revolution.


March of the Dinosaurs provide examples of the following tropes:

  • All Flyers Are Birds: Poor Quetzalcoatlus is hit really hard with this, with the bipedal gait and vulture-like feeding habits.
  • Anachronism Stew: But such a mild case that only the hardest paleo-buffs might notice it.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: As with anything dinosaur-related. Most notable examples are:
    • Troodon having feathered arms instead of clawed wings, and the strange, almost human-like theropod arms in general.
    • Incorrect number of claws on the ceratopsians and ankylosaur.
    • The whole freakin' Quetzalcoatlus.
    • The "Ankylosaurus" lacks a tail club, the defining feature of the family. It could be a nodosaur, a closely related family of armored dinosaurs with clubless tails.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: A realistic "situational omnivore" example: as plants die off in the fall, the ankylosaur forages grubs from rotten trees as a source of food, and Scar mimics out of sheer hunger.
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  • The Cavalry: The Pachyrhinosaurus herd comes in to unintentionally escort Scar across the river.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Troodon "seeing in slow motion".
  • Circling Azhdarchids
  • Cool Old Lady: The old female ankylosaur.
  • Crapsack World
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Our lead dino is named Scar, and from the name alone you'd think he was some grizzled and badass tyrannosaur, raptor, or ceratopsid, or at least a Badass who can hold his own. Nope, he's a cute little baby Edmontosaurus who got his scar from a predator attack, and spends a good chunk of the movie being antagonized by the afromentioned dinosaurs.
  • Eats Babies: Troodon. The Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus, and mosasaurs also hunt Scar.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Even better than with just penguins. Which are of course, also dinosaurs.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Albertosaurus.
  • Feathered Fiend: Gorgosaurus and Albertosaurus. Technically also Troodon, but those are portrayed in a more sympathetic light.
  • Foreshadowing: As the narrator points out that the sun will not rise until spring, and some dinosaurs will not live until then, the camera focuses clearly on Gorgosaurus's face in the fading light.
  • Giant Flyer: The Quetzalcoatlus that appear in a minor role.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Scar has a "good" one on his head he got from a gorgosaurus attack.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted with the more aggressive Pachyrhinosaurus, who harass the Edmontosaurus and fight each other over food as fall sets in.
  • Hope Spot: Scar finds his herd. Except here's a huge river filled with mosasaurs separating him from them.
  • In Name Only/Informed Species: You can't help but wonder why the narrator is calling those giant scaly vultures "Quetzalcoatlus".
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Large tyrannosaurids did not live that far north, and their absence (and therefore the lack of competition) is the reason that northern troodonts were able to grow larger and adopt a more carnivorous lifestyle than their southern counterparts. The only tyrannosaurids that did live there were fairly small, only slightly larger than the troodonts.
    • While freshwater mosasaurs did exist, they didn't live in North America. In their place, crocodiles and champsosaurs patrolled the rivers.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Troodon wait for the incapacitated ankylosaur (who has been turned on her back after a fall) to weaken and are almost ready to finish her off when the Gorgosaurus arrives and tries to drag the ankylosaur away from them. He pulls her onto an incline, allowing her to right herself and stab him in the leg. This leads to his death.
  • Noisy Nature: Not as apparent as in some other dino-docs.
  • Pet the Dog: Not intentional on their part, but after being hostile and aggressive towards the Edmontosaurus for the entire journey, the Pachyrhinosaurus are the reason Scar survives the last lap of his trek. (Their presence provides him with food, protects him from scavengers, and guarantees safety in numbers so that he can cross the river.)
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In comparison to Scar's constant peril from predation, starvation, and the elements, Patch's many mishaps are rarely more than amusing inconveniences from which he quickly recovers.
  • Predators Are Mean: A mix of aversion and playing it straight. Patch, one of the main characters, is a carnivore you can feel sympathetic towards, however the tyrannosaurids appear as the default-villains.
  • Prehistoric Monster: The Gorgosaurus may seem to be this at first, but the winter cold puts The Worf Effect on him. The Albertosaurus, on the other hand, are thorough monsters, though it's justified: they're starving.
  • Ptero Soarer: Holy crap. This film managed to screw up Quetzalcoatlus' anatomy, badly. Besides the usual scales, it was depicted as a biped, and actually lacked its three small wing fingers. On top of that, the narrator claimed it was a scavenger, which is a notion which should have long been forgotten by docu-makers.
  • Raptor Attack: The Troodons.
  • Real Is Brown: Not a colorful cast, save for the patches of yellow feathers on the male Troodon.
  • Rule of Cool: The Troodon who see in slow-motion, and the Albertosaurus that somehow makes a HUGE leap out of nowhere.
  • Sanity Slippage: The brain-tumored Edmontosaurus loses track of the trail, and gradually becomes hostile to Scar.
  • Sea Monster
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The brain-tumored Edmontosaurus.
  • Shown Their Work: As said above, some animals are incredibly accurate in their portrayals, save for perhaps a few anatomical details. Bonus points for the non-pronated theropod hands, as well as showcasing some new discoveries such as male deinonychosaurs brooding nests.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Averted. Instead of the overused T. rex, generic dromaeosaur, Triceratops and Anyklosaurus, the program uses Gorgosaurus and Albertosaurus, Troodon, Pachyrhinosaurus, and an unnamed nodosaur (most likely an Edmontonia).
  • Speculative Documentary
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Edmontosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, Troodon, Gorgosaurus, Albertosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, and... that's it.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Albertosaurus is the very definition of this. His feathers catch fire? Mild annoyance. A volcanic flood drags him away? Temporary setback. He's falling down from a cliff? Not going down without its victim.
  • Temper-Ceratops: The Pachyrhinosaurus are quite aggressive creatures. One even picks a fight with one Edmontosaurus over food.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Troodon who bites the Gorgosaurus in the leg and is immediately chomped and thrown to its death in retaliation.
  • The Worf Effect:
  • Zerg Rush: The Troodon try to do this with the incapacitated ankylosaur. The intervention by the Gorgosaurus causes this to fail.


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