Dinosnore

Planet Dinosaur’s awful CGI is driving me batty. It’s easy to say: Well, why watch it then, Coldbreath? Eh? But come on, IT’S GOT DINOSAURS. Of course I’m going to watch it.

The fact that we’re shown plant-eating animals which put on 45 kilos of weight per day in landscapes you’d have trouble supporting a small pony on aside, my main beef is this:

Actual Wildlife Documentary.
Lizard slinks with infinite grace through lush undergrowth. It spots an unguarded nest. It slithers in, with only the briefest of pauses to check for parents. Within seconds it is in the nest. A defenceless nestling puts up a silent struggle, but is swallowed in one smooth movement before the lizard moves on to swallow an egg or two, yolk dripping from its chin. The whole thing takes seconds. The parent returns. The predator is long gone.

CGI Dinosaur Documentary
Puppy-eyed baby dino emerges from egg, squawking loudly. Incompetent predator lumbers over. It is a pterosaur. It ambles over to the nest and stares at it for a bit, from a number of unlikely angles, while the pup-eyed baby dino makes lots of noises at it, presumably in case it hasn’t noticed that it is edible. Pterosaur takes four stabs at the almost-immobile infant before managing to hit it. Then it drops the infant. Parent returns. Pterosaur flies off.

GUYS, LOOK. These animals survived for millions of years. They were efficient hunters. They were efficient parents. They didn’t do all this “oops, I missed” shit. Do you remember seeing very many lions miss, when they go to jump on an antelope? Ok, there was that snow-leopard thing, but if you recall, the snow-leopard marked that goat’s card and came back for it later. And it got it.

Ok, what if the antelope was new-born? Do lions and that lot miss many newborns when they’re hunting them? No. If they did, they’d be extinct, and it wouldn’t take a friggin meteor to make it happen. There’d just be a big pile of them lying Africa going “aw shucks, I’m just not very good at this, hyuck!” and dying.

If you do CGI please, please, leave out the unnecessary head movements, unnecessary blinking, unnecessary noises, and if your animal is a 75 tonne herbivore, stick some fucking folige in, for it to eat.

ALSO, I’m annoyed by all the T-Rex shaped dinosaurs’ hunting techniques. We know a lot about their teeth, so we have a good idea of how efficient their bites were, and whether their hunting technique was “grab a bite”, or “crush” or “rip limb from limb”. But if I were an animal which essentially had a head full of teeth at one end, and a heavy rear end with two powerful legs equipped with very long claws at the other – and absolutely nothing in between unless you count a pair of arms it couldn’t even have held a cup of tea with – I wouldn’t be running up to something and biting its buttock, and maybe giving it a bit of a worry, like a small dog with a sock. I’d be sinking my teeth into its throat to crush its windpipe! I’d be raking it with my hind claws, hanging off it, using my momentum and body weight to rip as much of that animal as I could possibly persuade off the skeleton. I’d be devastating its soft underbelly! It would be bloody! It would be vicious! There’d be intestines everywhere! There’d be choking! Diplodocus would be slipping in its own blood! THINGS WOULD GET FRENZIED, YO! It would be what every child knows a T-Rex attack to be!

And we know what a T-Rex attack would be like because we have all, each and every one of us, spent our entire lives watching lions do just this. Silent. Deadly. Relentless LIONS.

I suspect the problem with the animators is that they’re all English, because animated dino-on-dino predation in this series seems to be a terribly Queensbury-Rules affair.

“I say old fellow, could you stand still while I bite your neck?”
“Very well, but first let me move my head randomly, so they can get a close-up of my puppy-like PREY EYE.”
“Take your time, old chap. I’ll just be over here, narrowing my pupils,[1] making some random head movements of my own and doing some predatory snorting.”
“Awfully good of you. Now – when you bite me – if you could do it in the least-efficient way possible, so as to minimise blood loss and risk of death …”
“Goes without saying, my dear fellow. We wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.”

[1] Anyone who has ever been in charge of a kitten knows that when they’re about to rip your face off, their pupils DISTEND. That’s what’s so terrifying. At the moment they make that final decision to kill you, THEY HAVE NEVER LOOKED CUTER.

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About chiller

Rachel Coldbreath spent 20 years working internationally as a technical specialist on large data collections for law firms, before becoming disabled. She blogs on a variety of topics from the news and politics to gardening and how very annoying it is, being disabled. Habits include drilling holes about 1mm away from where they ought to be, and embarking with great enthusiasm on tasks for which she is neither physically nor intellectually equipped.
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