The Radio Times logo
We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

Prehistoric Planet review: Taking nature docs into a different jurassic ballpark

A visually stunning look at 66 million years into the past, Prehistoric Planet is not your average David Attenborough doc.

Prehistoric Planet
Apple TV+
Published: Wednesday, 18th May 2022 at 3:54 pm
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1
A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Over the past few decades, nature documentaries have taken us to scorching deserts, tropical rainforests and down into the deepest oceans to spy on creatures we rarely see in our everyday lives – and we can't get enough of them. Yes, the landscapes are beautiful and the animals are majestic, but it's the drama of a fight between rival lions, antelopes running from predators and the entertaining mating rituals that appeal to the reality TV lovers in all of us.

Advertisement

Now – thanks to advancement in film-making technology – we get to see those storylines play out with dinosaurs in Apple TV+ docuseries Prehistoric Planet. The five-part series, which has been 10 years in the making, takes viewers back 66 million years into the past to be a primeval fly on the wall, following various species of dinosaurs as they go about their Late Cretaceous lives.

Prehistoric Planet
Dreadnoughtus shown in Prehistoric Planet Apple TV+

Executive produced by The Lion King's Jon Favreau and narrated by broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough, Prehistoric Planet applies the classic Blue Planet-esque formula to the world of dinosaurs, combining the latest paleontological research and CGI models to demonstrate how these extinct creatures would have behaved back in their heyday.

Considering we're most used to seeing dinosaurs on our screens in films like Jurassic Park, Prehistoric Planet is a truly groundbreaking piece of work. The make-up of these creatures is so intricately detailed, from the texture of feathers to the fading colours of claws, that you completely forget you're watching a computer generated T-Rex paddle across the water with his young family.

Thanks to the ever-relaxing voice of Attenborough, the naturalistic camera angles and the stirring sounds of Hans Zimmer, you feel as though you've stumbled across a never-before-seen episode of Life on Our Planet. The visuals are just as stunning as those you'd see in your typical BBC nature doc, but instead of a waddle of penguins, it's a flock of Anchiornis hatchlings you're rooting for.

Edmontosaurus and juvenile shown in Prehistoric Planet
Edmontosaurus and a juvenile shown in Prehistoric Planet Apple TV+

Most importantly, those edge-of-your-seat moments are there, with Pterosaur babies fleeing the nest and trying to make it across the ocean without being snapped up by predators, and the Carnotaurus trying to impress a mate with his little blue arms. The only downside of this never-before-seen series is that none of it is actually real.

Of course, the creatures' appearances and behaviours are all based on scientific research but since they're all CGI, the stakes aren't particularly high. While a territorial match between a younger and an older mosasaur most likely did happen millions of years ago, we know this particular one did not – although that doesn't make it any less fascinating to watch.

A visual delight and a hugely educational watch, Prehistoric Planet is CGI technology at its best and with so many different species of dinosaur brought to life, this series is going to make the Ross Gellers of the world incredibly happy.

Advertisement

You can be among the first in the world to watch the opening two episodes of Prehistoric Planet as part of this year's BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, where it will screen at the BFI IMAX cinema on Friday 20th May. Tickets are on sale now here.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine features Prehistoric Planet interviews with Sir David Attenborough and Jon Favreau – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Prehistoric Planet airs across five nights on Apple TV+ from Monday 23rd May. Find out how to sign up for Apple TV Plus here or find something to watch with our TV Guide.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content