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Case Number 17357: Small Claims Court

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Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric 3D Adventure

National Geographic // 2009 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 28th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is in 3D—and he's spectacular!

Editor's Note

Our review of Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric 3D Adventure (Blu-Ray), published September 11th, 2009, is also available.

The Charge

A Prehistoric Adventure.

The Case

From National Geographic, forty minutes worth of sea-going dinosaur entertainment dressed up in a Disney veneer and given a big gimmick—3D! The DVD comes with four pairs of old-school blue and red paper 3D glasses, so you and three friends can get a face full of prehistoric fish.

The production unfolds with a mixture of historical reenactments of fossil finds and a computer-generated adventure of some young Dollies, which is short for a long-ass dinosaur name I don't feel like typing out in its entirety. We start with a look at the dinos born in shallow water, follow as they venture out into the open sea, squaring off with all the crazy bastards that lurk beneath the surface, before returning back to the shallows to give birth to their own offspring. It's the circle of life, baby.

Scattered between these simple stories are a handful of live-action dramatizations relating fossil finds. These bits are springboards to more CGI, like when a particular beastie is unearthed, the film shifts to said sea monster embarking on its undersea shenanigans.

And that's about it—a well-crafted, obviously fictitious story. To go from bones embedded in the Earth to Finding Nemo is a stretch, but the facts about the dinos and the discoveries of their remains is interesting and informational.

Now, the big question: How is the 3D? Fortunately, it works. I threw the image up on my movie screen through a DLP projector and the effects indeed popped out in all their 3D glory. Not all of the film is in 3D—only about 80 percent or so—but when the visuals do support, it's pretty cool. You have fish flying at you, sea monsters jumping out of the water snapping their jaws, and lots of pointy-nosed aquatic dinosaurs getting all up in your business. However, as is typically the case with these budget 3D effects, the process will tire your eyes out. Thankfully, we're only talking about a forty minute feature, so it's not much of an endurance trial.

The DVD is simple: a clean 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo mix, with only an interactive timeline in the extras bin.

The Verdict

Not guilty, mainly because the 3D works.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: National Geographic
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English (CC)
Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre:
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Interactive Timeline

Accomplices

• IMDb








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