Allosaurus, (a.k.a.,
The Ballad of Big Al)
produced by Tim Haines
(Discovery Channel/BBC, 2000)

Big Al didn't live very long. But, through the wonders of modern film-making, he's immortal.

Al is an Allosaurus, a fiercely carnivorous predator from the Jurassic period. His surprisingly intact remains were found in Wyoming, and archeologists used the fossilized remains to piece together the major events in his life. Those facts, blended with a healthy pinch of imagination and guesswork, were translated into Allosaurus, sometimes called The Ballad of Big Al.

This joint production by the Discovery Channel and BBC follow in the footsteps of 1999's Walking With Dinosaurs. The American version is narrated by Avery Brooks, while Kenneth Branagh narrates the British edition (the Branagh version appears to be more accessible on video and DVD).

Allosaurus is a visual wonder, recreating Al's life in vivid, colorful detail. The living, breathing dinosaurs presented here are so realistic that captivated children might not even realize they're watching something educational.

It's great when a documentary can be this much fun. There's no reason education can't be entertaining, and it's particularly gratifying when children clamor to watch it again and again. Al is a hit.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 3 August 2002

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