Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dinostalgia

Take ten minutes and watch this video clip of "Prehistoric Beast," a 1984 homemade stop-motion short film from FX dynamo Phil Tippet and one of my favorite dinosaur-related things EVER. As you watch it, keep in mind that '84 means this was done the old-fashioned way - frame-by-frame with NO computer effects... even those "hand-held camera" shots are artificially executed bit by bit.

I first encountered the short as incorporated into "Dinosaur!", a 1985 "everything you wanted to know" documentary hosted by Christopher Reeve that I probably watched multiple times a WEEK as a child. I was obsessed with this thing, and as a science doc it still holds up today:

6 comments:

Dominic said...

Excellent. Such an inspired and effective choice for hosting duties, especially. Having the face of one of the most prolific screen characters transpose their on-screen sincerity to real-world matters of truth and curiosity is great to watch.

It makes me wonder which superhero actor they'd get for a modern-day update. I'd go with Tom Hiddleston; while he's best known as a villain, he normally exudes a strange warmth that would be perfectly suited to a young audience.

Arturo said...

I had my own dinosaur documentary on VHS that I rewatched many times over. It was called "When Dinosaurs Roamed America" and it was hosted by John Goodman.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this since I was 5. Thanks, Bob.

Zac Malm said...

I saw a few seconds of the Triceratops eating flowers during my first dinosaur experience, a PBS 4-part documentary "The Dinosaurs!" (my, how little you have to work for a title for something like that) back in the 90's hosted by Bob Bakker and a dozen others. I watched that stuff non-stop from when I was two till I was arround 4 or 5, and I've still popped it in every couple years or so since. It maynot be terribly up to date, but it was one of the few things that I've seen, looking back on my childhood, that truely captured the what the dinomania was like back then.

Allan said...

Ah, memories. I loved dinos as a kid and still do, although no one makes dinosaur ANYTHING the way I would personally if I could.

As a kid, nothing got the look and sound of dinos as good as Jurassic Park. I never saw dinos the same way again and I don't think anyone else has. Too bad the dino craze is a bit "over" so to speak.

john said...

I first encountered Tippet's work here in 3D Dinosaur Adventure (one of those CD-ROM "multimedia" titles made back when "multimedia" was a thing.) A lot of the footage from Dinosaur! got edited into short clips for the program's "theater" section (also had some other kickass stuff, but most of it suffered somewhat from the Early Days of CGI Blues.) Even in chopped-up, compressed-down form it was amazing stuff, and it was cool, when I finally found out about Dinosaur! years later, to have my suspicion that a lot of those clips looked suspiciously like excerpts from a single story vindicated :)

All of it's on YouTube now, of course (even the other stuff from the game,) but I'd pay good money for a proper DVD of this. Absolutely amazing stuff.