"There are two things you have to get right," intones Sir Richard Attenborough, "if an animal the size of a giraffe is to get into the air: weight and power." Fair enough. There are also two things a dinosaur documentary has to get right if it's going to hold any interest: science and spectacle. Flying Monsters 3-D, which displays the bones and computer simulations of pterosaurs, contains enough of each to keep it aloft for its barely half an hour of gliding. Flying Monsters 3-D is an IMAX dome movie, and I saw it neither in an IMAX dome nor in 3-D, so take my opinion with a huge grain of salt flying at your face. But I found it contained more than the usual academic rigor for these sorts of things, if not much increase in general entertainment value. Attenborough, who wrote and narrates, is probably attached for Jurassic Park reasons, but the movie's obvious genesis is as a paleontological companion to Avatar and its airborne dragons. So the winged lizards are brightly colored and soar through vertiginous tropical canyons; there's even a speculative mating dance. But there's also some interesting background on how the beasts evolved, a close look at their mechanics, and the story of where their fossils were first discovered—in Attenborough's own Britain. And did those wings, in ancient time, fly along England's mountains green? Yep.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
- Critic's Score: 55
- Watch the trailer