What is the best dinosaur movie or TV show that has ever been committed to film? Is this a question that has you laying awake at night counting velociraptors as they jump over an electric fence? If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place because today we are on a mission to finally decide what is the T-Rex of the dinosaur scree world and crown the king of the prehistoric jungle once and for all.
Mixing and matching movies and TV shows? Really, is that wise idea, I hear you say. Yes, it’s a great idea! Well, you did ask. There’s plenty of dino movies and TV shows, and sometimes it’s nice just to sit down and have a good old prehistoric stream on the TV, so we thought we’d mix and match. If you find this a bit much, you could always just look at the TV shows or just look at the movies – but we recommend getting stuck right into both!
OK, so let’s begin this journey into all things Jurassic with our first choice… and it’s a TV show!
his is a show that may well have passed you by, mainly because it was a TV show that only ran for one season – and it was quite a long time ago. However, get this – the big budget Fox show, which aired in late 2011, was executive produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, as dinosaur fans will know if responsible for Jurassic Park… so expectations for this show were high. The series follows the fortunes of the Shannon family who flee the overcrowded and dystopian drama of the 22nd Century to go back 85 million years to live in a colony at the time of dinosaurs. This show has a lot of to offer fans of CGI dinosaurs, and although ultimately it didn’t get renewed, if you like people and dinosaurs coming face-to-face in an exciting new world, this could be just the treat you’ve been missing all your life.
The Good Dinosaur
In 2015, a very cute and charming film arrived in our lives and that was The Good Dinosaur. A Pixar classic that perhaps doesn’t get as much praise as it deserves, the story follows that of Arlo, a young Apatosaurus in an alternate reality where dinosaurs didn’t get wiped out. He befriends a small human and they go on a journey and an adventure together which is both heart warming and throughly entertaining. And if you’ve ever seen a Pixar film before, you know that you’re going to come away from this having learned a lot more about the world and yourself.
The Land Before Time
Of course many of our movies and TV shows are going to feature CGI dinosaurs, because, well, none of us has ever seen a dino for real, so being able to see life-like recreations of these magnificent beasts from the past is a great thrill. However, in this excellent animated work, it’s less about hyper realism and more about storytelling as the 1988 film captures the heart of all who watch it. With some serious names behind the project including Steven Spielberg (yes, him again), Star Wars George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy to name but a few, this was always going to be a cinematic hit that had a loyal fanbase who would return to it time and again for many decades to come.
Primeval is a show that originated at a time of great science fiction in the UK. Following the success revival of Doctor Who in 2005 by the BBC, ITV, the biggest commercial broadcaster in the UK, were looking for a family-friendly hit that could deliver the same enthusiasm of audiences. What they got was five seasons of the excellent Primeval, a show that follows the fortunes of a group of scientists whose job it is to investigate the appearance of anomalies in the natural world across the United Kingdom – what turn out to be prehistoric creatures that have somehow moved from the past into the future. A thrilling and fun show with great special effects, it’s still a go-to programme for those who likes dinosaurs in the modern age.
There have been a number of versions of this film made, and each has their merits when it comes to dinosaur action. Indeed, when early cinema fans saw the original in 1933, they probably couldn’t believe their eyes at what was lurking on the mysterious Skull island. Our choice is however Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black an Adrien Brody for those looking for excellent dinosaur movie action. With dinosaur stampedes and the epic battle between King Kong and the T-Rexes to look forward to in this movie, it’s definitely well deserving of its place on our list.
Walking with Dinosaurs
A spectacular natural history style documentary about the creatures that ruled the earth many millions of years ago, Walking with Dinosaurs was a real breakthrough in this style of television when it arrived on screens in the UK and the US in 1999. With much of the world still dino crazy in the afterglow of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park series, this was an educational and exhilarating journey that sought to teach us about these creatures as well as simply entertain us. The UK version was narrated by Kenneth Branagh and ran in six parts and the US version was voiced by Avery Brooks and was presented by Discovery as a feature-length event.
One Million Years B.C.
OK, before you start shouting at the screen and telling me that this film is historically inaccurate and that humans and non-avian dinosaurs never co-existed on Earth, I know… I know – you can’t make real dinosaurs out of the DNA of mosquitos either, but that doesn’t stop this being a fun film with plenty of dino action. The 1966 British film starring Raquel Welsh and John Richardson is in many ways quite silly and in a lot more ways very entertaining as the giant stop-motion dinosaurs terrorise cave people who live in a land of monsters and try their best to survive.
After what many might consider to have been less than satisfactory sequels to the original brilliant Jurassic Park, this reboot came as a pleasant surprise to dinosaur movie fans across the globe as it delivered what most would probably class as a loving homage to the original film with a new updated cast. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard took over the lead roles for this excellent adventure which sees a return to Islar Nublar off the coast of Costa Rica 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. Can John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur park finally have come together without any mortal danger… of course not!
The BBC and David Attenborough have long been world renowned for their ability to make the very best natural history documentaries, and so it’s no wonder that when this formidable group teamed up with the deep pocketed streaming giant in the shape of Apple TV+ that the result was nothing short of simply jaw dropping. In many ways a natural sequel to the Planet Earth series’ that wowed the world in high definition and taught us about the current earth we live on, this beautifully crafted series which employs some of the most cutting edge CGI to bring alive the dinosaurs with realism like you’ve never seen before, allows us to see as close as we ever will how these amazing creatures once lived on this planet.
Steven Spielberg’s 1994 film remains not only the best dinosaur film ever made, but one of the best films ever made. A truly stunning piece of cinema, it’s scope and scale brought wonder to all who saw it for the first time with the then digital dinosaurs some of the most life like that had ever been committed to screen. Add to that a ripping story that really captures the imagination and some standout performances from the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill – alongside the late great Sir Richard Attenborough and you have a film that dino fans will continue to return to time and again – until the end of time. Bravo! Because remember “life finds a way…”