Prehistoric Planet – Episode 1 – Coasts

Tyrannosaurus rex and juvenile shown in “Prehistoric Planet,” premiering globally May 23, 2022 on Apple TV+.
Tyrannosaurus rex and juvenile shown in “Prehistoric Planet,” premiering globally May 23, 2022 on Apple TV+.

Prehistoric Planet episode one Coasts triumphs truth over fiction.

Prehistoric Planet episode one Coasts, and two Desert, were screened as part of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2022 but this was written entirely by Cinamore.

Prehistoric Planet, produced by Tim Walker, and directed by Adam Valdez shines a natural geographic lens on the world of dinosaurs when they once roamed the Earth.

With cinematic language similar to Blue Planet and Planet Earth, the unusual happens. After the first couple of minutes, the brain forgets that the dinosaurs we watch interact with haven’t been alive for over 66 million years.

Episode one is set almost entirely on the coastline, and how the beings of a time gone by revolved their way of life around bodies of water, similar to the natural world of today.

This is the greatness of the Prehistoric Planet.

Narrated by the force de triumph that is Sir David Attenborough, Prehistoric Planet episode one becomes more akin to Blue Planet than any other depiction of the late Jurassic Era fictionalised from Hollywood.

Using cinematic language that audiences would recognise from similar nature documentaries including time-lapses, camera traps, and a high depth of field shot taken from afar using a telescopic lens, the attention to detail used to replicate the authenticity of other natural history documentaries is to be commended.

It is only after watching the entirety of episode one and seeing bioluminescent ammonites perform a mating ritual that the brain realises the marvel of the show.

Contextualising the abundance of ammonite shells that have been uncovered by palaeontologists and how though they have been extinct for centuries, their sentience dances and illuminates the screen.

Furthermore, with the show executively produced in partnership with Jon Favreau, of The Lion King and The Mandolorian fame, as well as Mike Gunton, Creative Director of Factual at BBC Studios, the marriage of talent displayed is unfathomable.

Applying Favreau’s skillset of the computer-generated image, showcased in both aforementioned Disney projects, and Gunton’s career portfolio having worked with Tim Walker and Sir David Attenborough over the years suggests that Prehisistoric Planet was a project bound to happen, with no better individuals to lead.

Most interestingly, with a limited bank of content available for Apple TV+, as the platform only creates exclusives whereas competitors purchase distribution rights, I wonder whether Prehistoric Planet will be enough to entice more of the British audience onto the platform in a time when many are reducing, or cancelling their subscription services.

Personally, I don’t doubt this to be successful for the Californian tech monolith.

Attenborough alone has a global appeal to attract audiences, but when partnered with Favreau’s digital experience, and the natural geographic documentarian filmmaking conventions akin to the Planet franchise (Planet Earth; Blue Planet; Green Planet and Frozen Planet and their sequels) I cannot see a reason why audiences wouldn’t flock to the platform.

All episodes of Prehistoric Planet will be available to stream exclusively on Apple TV+ from Monday 23 May 2022, with every episode released daily after.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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