Netflix Top Picks: All Dinosaur Edition

With so much content on Netflix Instant it is easy for some titles to just get lost in the shuffle, and with so many gamers now using their consoles to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix someone needs to start sorting this all out. Welcome to Netflix Top Picks, where every week I will select two items from the Netflix Instant service you just have to add to your queue.  Today I’m looking at films about the coolest creatures to ever walk the earth; Dinosaurs.  From a classic series, to a more modern and of course an example of what you shouldn’t watch as well.

Title: Walking with Dinosaurs
Type: Documentary
Genre: Documentary, Science and Nature Documentaries , TV Documentaries
Rating: TV-G
Run Time: 6 Episodes, approximately 30 minutes each
Released: 1999
Starring: Kenneth Branagh
Synopsis: Using cutting-edge computer-generated imagery to recreate prehistoric times, this Emmy-winning miniseries was originally shown on the BBC. Combining science, art and a goodly amount of imagination, the series, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, brings to life the Cretaceous, Triassic and Jurassic periods, showing the world through the eyes of the dinosaurs that roamed the earth. Each episode focuses on an individual dinosaur or family of dinosaurs.
My Analysis: So maybe the ‘cutting-edge computer-generated imagery’ is far from being anything close to that now, but Walking with Dinosaurs is still a classic. Enjoyable both in the “I thought this was the greatest thing ever as a kid” sense as well as the fact it was just a well-produced series that led to a long line of TV documentary series on pre-historic beast.  Enjoy it for the nostalgia; enjoy it for what it is.

Title: Clash of the Dinosaurs
Type: Documentary
Genre: Documentary, Science and Nature Documentaries , TV Documentaries
Rating: TV-PG
Run Time: 4 Episodes, approximately 43 minutes each
Released: 2009
Synopsis: Get up close and very personal with dinosaurs in this four-part Discovery Channel series that uses advanced imaging give to viewers a glimpse inside the lumbering bodies of these mammoth creatures — bones, muscles and all. Learn the secrets of powerful predators and how herbivores survived in a dino-eat-dino world. Then, get the inside story on dinosaurs’ mating habits and the evolutionary adaptations that allowed them to thrive.

My Analysis: This is best described as an update on the classic Walking with Dinosaurs framework.  Following a couple of particular dinosaurs they attempt to describe the life using computer generated imagery, only they’ve had 10 years to work on that part.  A little more accurate than the Walking with Dinosaurs series as well, overall the series is a fun way to waste some time and learn about some animals that lived over 65 million years ago.  My only real complaint is how often they re-used the same computer-generated video.

Ok, so we have to admit, not everything rocks on Netflix Instant.  Sometimes this is obvious, other times not so much.  Whatever the case, What Not To Watch is a segment within a segment that will try to influence you from avoiding something genuinely unpleasant.  I didn’t have to venture very far in the topic of dinosaurs to find this gem:

Title: Raptor Island
Type: Movie
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Sci-Fi Adventure
Rating: NR
Run Time: 88 Minutes
Released: 2004
Directed By: Andre Van Heerden, Jason Van Heerden
Starring: Lorenzo Lamas, Steven Bauer, Hayley DuMond, Michael Cory Davis, Peter Jason

Synopsis: A team of Navy commandos led by Hacket (Lorenzo Lamas) pursues a band of international terrorists to a remote Asian island, where they soon learn that fighting terror will take secondary importance to fighting hordes of vicious dinosaurs that populate the island. And with terrorist mastermind Azir (Steven Bauer) on the loose and a volcano threatening eruption, the Naval officers must band together to get off the island alive.

My Analysis: Raptor Island starts off with what feels like a 15 minute shot of a model airplane purchased from a local hobby shop “flying” through a thunderstorm.  Apparently this cargo plane has something toxic on board and it eventually comes loose and falls out of the plane during the storm.  It actually only gets worse from there.  Within a few minutes a team of Navy commandos are on an island populated by poorly rendered raptors and must fight to survive while you fight to keep watching.  So bad that it didn’t even make it into a “so bad it’s good” category, you’ll only be left wondering how films like this even find funding.

Due to Netflix constantly updating and changing the content on their service we cannot guarantee that the content listed in this article will be available for any particular length of time, nor can we guarantee it is available in all regions.  We do make a genuine effort though to never include any item that Netflix has marked with a limited availability.


About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.