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Prehistoric Planet Review: A Jurassic Triaumph for Apple TV+

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Life indeed does find a way.. as Apple TV+ showcases a documentary event that travels back 66 million years to a dominion when these extraordinary creatures roamed the lands, seas, and skies. The wonders of our world are brought to life like never before.

Dinosaurs continue to spark the imagination in all of us and with new updated scientific research and the latest imaging technology we can bring these titans to life. Throughout this five-night event, you’ll see a different terrain showcasing these creatures in extraordinary climates whether it’s the swooping sky, coastal depths, deep-sea, Icecaps, desolate desert, or fresh forests. What I’ve witnessed is that throughout each episode all dinosaurs of every kind are facing the one common thing which is the struggle to survive.

Prehistoric Planet which debuts on Apple TV+ May 23 teams up with the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, the team behind many successful nature documentaries such as “Planet Earth” and The Moving Pictures Company’s visual effects team who’ve worked on Hollywood movies such as 2019’s “The Lion King”. this is all thanks to a great partnership between Mike Gunton, the BBC’s most senior natural history producer and Hollywood director Jon Favreau. Filming took place in real-world locations and the result is absolutely astonishing, as the scientifically accurate dinosaurs are brought to life and showcase behaviour in ways we’ve never seen before.

PHOTO: APPLE TV+

The sequences and on-screen action are accompanied majestically by an original score from Academy Award-Winning Composer Hans Zimmer, a soundtrack I cannot wait to stream.

Within each of these episodes, the narration is provided most magnificently by David Attenborough, whose warm and friendly voice guides you through each story and brings informative information about each species of dinosaur to the forefront. His voice takes us on a ride through the calmer moments for example, when a Mosasaurus comes to the open waters by the coral and gets his scales shed and cleaned by reef fish and shrimps, his narration also takes us on tense and exhilarating journeys as in episode one featuring Coasts we witness the flight of the Pterosaur hatchings which reminded me of fighter jets and spitfires as the hatchlings launch off the cliffs towards the safe island only to be chased and unfortunately eaten by many of the larger and adult species whilst also being prey to the Hatzegopteryx, a 9-foot tall predator.

PHOTO: APPLE TV+

The series takes great care to not anthropomorphise, it shows animals just being animals which still share the same familiar instincts as the animals we have on planet Earth today. Whether that’s the preying of one animal such as the Velociraptor hunting in freshwater or a mating ritual where female ostrich type dinosaurs choose the male who’s decorated and made the best looking nest for her eggs. The nest-making skill can take several years to learn so some sneaky males resort to thievery and steal others branches and vegetation needed to cover the female’s eggs. This behaviour is something we now see in many species of penguins. 

Paleontological research is at the forefront thanks to palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish, the lead consultant on Prehistoric Planet and the ingenious team that bring this world to life and all in aid transport us back in time to the Cretaceous, the last dinosaur period. Thanks to Apple TV+ I was able to get an early look at each episode and throughout watching I was so impressed with the visuals and effects that help breathe these larger-than-life animals into the world It’s just so immersive with moments that’ll connect you to these titans such as a Tyrannosaurus Rex father caring for and protecting his young. I can honestly say it made the experience worth watching as we get a front-row seat showing what life might have been like, how they lived, breathed, ate, and yes even mated. Prehistoric Planet truly transports you through a portal and into this colossal kingdom. 

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Prehistoric Planet: Guide to these Cretaceous Creatures

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Life indeed does find a way.. as Apple TV+ showcases a documentary event that travels back 66 million years to a dominion when these extraordinary creatures roamed the lands, seas, and skies.  The wonders of our world are brought to life like never before. 

Dinosaurs continue to spark the imagination in all of us and with new updated scientific research and the latest imaging technology we are able to bring these titans to life. Throughout this five-night event, you’ll see a different terrain showcasing these creatures in extraordinary climates whether it’s the swooping sky, coastal depths, deep-sea, Icecaps, desolate desert, or fresh forests. What I’ve witnessed is that throughout each episode all dinosaurs of every kind are facing the one common thing which is the struggle to survive. 

Prehistoric Planet which is now streaming on Apple TV+ teams up with the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, the team behind many successful nature documentaries such as “Planet Earth” and The Moving Pictures Company’s visual effects team who’ve worked on Hollywood movies such as 2019’s “The Lion King”. this is all thanks to a great partnership between Mike Gunton, the BBC’s most senior natural history producer and Hollywood director Jon Favreau. Filming took place in real-world locations and the result is absolutely astonishing, as the scientifically accurate dinosaurs are brought to life and showcase behaviour in ways we’ve never seen before.

Prehistoric Planet is a feast for curious minds, it showcases one of the most exciting times in our world’s history which is a world populated by these extraordinary creatures. Some you may have never heard of but imagine flying reptiles the size of a giraffe soaring the skies, devil toads hopping around the marshlands and massive Dreadnoughtus march the desert. The series also brings to life many well-known dinosaurs such as Triceratops, Velociraptors, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the many marvels during the dinosaur dynasty. 

Transporting back 66 million years ago brings with it a combination of real and imaginary as Prehistoric Planet is a wildlife documentary that features the dramatic elements of struggle, conflict, life and death. The heart of the docu-series and what I witnessed is that you get a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth set in the land of the dinosaurs. 

Prehistoric Planet is something spectacular and is populated by these magnificent prehistoric creatures. It’s a big breakthrough into understanding their behaviour, their anatomy, and their appearance, it’s truly something that must be believed to be seen. 

What kind of animals were they? what did they look like? and how did they live?. These are the questions that scientific research can now finally answer not just about Tyrannosaurus Rex but the other species that lived alongside it. And with dozens of dinosaurs featured throughout the five episodes, I’d like to tell you more about Prehistoric Planet’s new stars and some of my favourites.

DEINOCHEIRUS

Deinocheirus, with its feathered body and duck bill, the eight-ton creature wades through the Asian wetlands. first named in 1970, originally scientists only had a pair of arm bones with big, long claws. In 2014 new evidence revealed that Deinocheirus had a unique, large hump on its back supported by its back bones. Name meaning “terrible hand” Deinocheirus was a large omnivorous theropod. 

CARNOTAURUS

Carnotaurus meaning “carnivorous bull” is another large theropod. It’s known for its hollow bones and three-toed limbs and was discovered by Argentinian palaeontologist Joes Bonaparte in 1984. Their thick muscular neck and distinct horns sticking out of its eyes help identify the this creature which can get up to twenty-six feet in length which makes it a formidable predator. However Prehistoric Planet showcases these creatures in a whole new way as we witness a touching display as a Carnotaurus male puts on a courtship performance with only the smallest of arms, does he succeed in wowing the female well you’ll just have to tune into this epic five night event. 

MONONYKUS

Mononykus meaning “single claw” was a small theropod, measuring just around one metre in length. With long thin legs, shaggy featuring and small specialised forearms used for foraging. Mononykus also was very nimble which is very useful in the open desert plains. This desert expert patrols the vast lands to find enough food. As mentioned the long thin legs help to keep the body cool whilst its features form a shield protected it from the suns rays. super sense facial discs make her hypersensitive to sound which gives the Mononykus a mental map. Another skill this remarkable creature has is a flexible lounge, twice the length of her head as she uses her single claw to break into the tree bark and feast on termites. 

BARBARIDACTYLUS PTEROSAURS

Barbaridactylus Pterosaurs is a nyctosaurid pterosaur, a kind usually associated with coastal areas and hunting for fish. Originally discovered in Morocco, it uses its sixteen foot wingspan to swoop down and dive into oceans, snatching any fish swimming close to the surface. Meaning of name comes from the Barbary Coast of North Africa. 

NANUQSAURUS

Nanuqsaurus meaning “polar bear lizard`’ was built for life in the polar north regions,It was first described and named in 2014. This species is also related to Tyrannosaurus rex, however its about half the length as this Tyrannosaur grew to around six metres in length. They displayed powerful predatory skills. 

CORYTHORAPTOR

Corythoraptor meaning “crested thief” is an oviraptor newly discovered in 2017. Its part of a group of crested, toothless, and feathered dinosaurs that are equipped with parrot-like heads, this omnivore is similar to that of a  cassowary a relation also to the emu. Corythoraptor’s can reach approximately five feet tall as they had long legs and were very much likely to be fast runners. 

Prehistoric Planet will truly stand the test of time as this Revolutionary series documents the riveting journey each species goes through, which is thanks to new scientific research such as Phylogenetic bracketing. This technique looks to see where animals sit on the evolutionary tree of life and also seeing what creatures were alongside them, for instance a Tyrannosaurus has crocodilians on one side of the spectrum and the other you have modern birds. This helps understand the behaviours of each species and  their fossil records. 

Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV+ truly is a big breakthrough in showing what the world these dinosaurs lived in was like and the series breathes new life into some of the most misunderstood creatures that ever walked the earth. 

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Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock | A Nostalgic Return to Television

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Let’s all put on our radish hats and dance the cares away, as Jim Henson’s fun-loving, musical Fraggles are back! Join Gobo, Red, Wembley, Mokey, Boober, and new Fraggle friends on hilarious, epic adventures about the magic that happens when we celebrate and care for our interconnected world.

The highly-anticipated reboot of the beloved classic series reunites these characters and unearths them on Apple TV+ Friday, January 21st, 2022. The new series from The Jim Henson Company consists of 13 incredible and entertaining episodes that are Fun and Educational for the whole family alike, as each episode features an important lesson that the Fraggle Five learn and ultimately accept. Important topics covered in these episodes are, for example, being able to see the fun in things, making the right choice, embracing your uniqueness, and showing that there is nothing wrong with who you are.

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Of course, all of this is combined with catchy music and dance numbers, as singing and dancing are what a Fraggle does best. Fraggles explore their feelings, work through problems, and grow their minds and bodies through music so when a song comes on they celebrate. Parents will be able to show their kids how to clap, walk and move to the beat and ultimately learn the rhythm.

The show, which had originally run in the 1980s perfectly captures the nostalgia that the original series had. We travel through Fraggle Rock and venture into Doozer headquarters, Royal Radish Garden, many, many caves, and outer space as Uncle Traveling Matt would call it. This epic journey shows our favourite characters interacting and trying to co-exist with the Gorgs, Doozers, and Kraggles.

Gobo Fraggle (John Tartaglia) is one of the five main Fraggles in Fraggle Rock. He is an explorer, just like his Uncle Traveling Matt. Whereas Matt explores our world aka “Outer Space”, Gobo devotes himself to the exploration of Fraggle Rock’s many caverns and uncharted regions. Gobo is also the only Fraggle who is brave enough to go into Doc’s (Lilli Cooper) makeshift laboratory to pick up his uncle’s postcards and artefacts whilst evading Doc’s dog Sprocket. Whenever his friends are in trouble, Gobo finds inspiration in these postcards.

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Red Fraggle (Karen Prell) is athletic and energetic. She likes to think of herself as the fastest and strongest Fraggle in the rock. She is highly competitive with her friends as during the series can cause extreme interpersonal problems. Many of the characters in Fraggle Rock have a share of insecurities, Red especially hates to admit her mistakes. She absolutely loves sports, especially diving and swimming.

Apple TV+

In this revival series, Mokey (Donna Kimball) is given a makeover. Her hair becomes a vibrant cerulean and is pulled into a bushy ponytail. She wears a necklace with multiple trinkets, her eyes are more fully open which allows her to blink, thanks to the eyelid mechanism, and her grey sweater is replaced with a green blouse. She is a dreamer and is in touch with her creative side as she loves painting, writing, poems, and meditating. She is very emotionally connected with others and is always ready to help a friend in need.

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Wembley (Jordan Lockheart) is the youngest Fraggle of the group. He is cheerful and energetic, but also very insecure. He usually agrees with everybody at the same time, because he hates to argue. Wembley also never seems to make up his mind, he even has trouble deciding what shirt to wear, although he owns only two, which are identical.

Boober (Voiced by Dave Goelz-puppetry by Frank Meschkuleit) tends to not like fun and games too much, and when he’s not worried about himself, he’s busy warning others. He is easily frightened and suffers from a variety of phobias, but because of his fears, he is very knowledgeable about health and superstition. Aside from his friends, there are two things in life that Boober is very fond of: laundry and cooking. Boober is very much a Cave Fraggle as he lives in his own little hole. I resonate and relate to Boober!!.

During each of the 13 episodes, we are treated to segments of Uncle Traveling Matt’s journey as he ventured out of the Rock to explore the Human world of Outer Space. To document his exploits, Matt sends Gobo a series of postcards and artefacts recounting his experiences with the silly creatures and their culture particularly from the Fraggle point of view. The use of Fraggle Vocabulary is fantastic and hilarious throughout the series as Uncle Traveling Matt comes up with these wacky and unique names for ordinary objects that we use in our day-to-day life. Uncle Matt prides himself on his bravery and resourcefulness, but also tends towards clumsiness, frequently falling backward or tripping during his travels.

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Living amongst the Fraggles inside Fraggle Rock is the Doozers. They’re tiny green creatures who usually sport construction helmets, boots, and tool belts. Doozers stand approximately knee-high to a Fraggle. Unlike the Fraggles, Doozers love to work all day long, and they hate playing games. They are by far the most technologically advanced race within the Rock as they use machinery to build. Most Doozers are construction workers, while others are architects and miners. They build these elaborate contraptions that tower over Fraggle Rock.

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Their building materials, Doozer sticks, are made of Radish dust and are the Fraggles’ favourite snack, as they love to eat the buildings that the Doozers build. Cotterpin is one of the few Doozers who likes to communicate with her neighbours.

Apple TV+

Living above Fraggle Rock is a family of Gorgs, who are giant creatures that live in a rundown castle. Junior Gorg (Voice and face by Dan Garza- body by Ben Durocher) is the son of Pa and Ma Gorg, the self-acclaimed king, and queen of the universe. Junior is given a number of chores to do around the house and garden, he’s also trying his best to keep a watchful eye out for those Fraggles. Junior is proud of his Gorg heritage as he’s always eager to please his parents. Even when he doesn’t understand the orders they give him.

Throughout the world of Fraggle Rock and the characters who inhabit the lands, ultimately Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock tells viewers that no two paths are the same, that we are not defined by our mistakes, and if we work all together, no matter our differences we can change the world.

Jim Henson’s spirit and what he stood for truly shines throughout each of the thirteen episodes. Fraggle Rock wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing puppeteers who I can tell have poured their heart and soul into creating this loveable series that will ultimately create a path for a new generation of dreamers.

The reboot will also feature a number of new Fraggles and Doozers voiced by special guests.

“Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock” is executive produced by The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford, and longtime Henson collaborator John Tartaglia. Matt Fusfeld and Alex Cuthbertson, who serve as showrunners, also executive produce, alongside New Regency’s Yariv Milchan and Michael Schaefer. Co-executive producers are Dave Goelz and Karen Prell, and executive music producer is Harvey Mason Jr. The series is produced by Ritamarie Peruggi.

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock premieres on Apple TV+ on January 21st.

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The Tragedy of Macbeth | One Of The Best Adaptations Of Shakespeare’s Work

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Joel Coen’s first venture without his brother is the latest reincarnation of William Shakespeare’s classic play. The Scottish play was first performed 415 years ago and has since been adapted multiple times since its stage premiere in 1606 when King James ruled. Even the word “Macbeth” is strictly Taboo in theatres as it’s believed to bring bad luck or even disaster as according to folklore, the play’s history of bad luck began with its first perforce in 1606 when the actor scheduled to portray Lady Macbeth died suddenly, so Shakespeare himself was forced to replace him.

Then in another 17th-century production held in Amsterdam, the actor playing King Duncan was allegedly killed in front of the live audience when a real dagger was used instead of the stage prop during stabbing scenes.

The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the tale of a Scottish Lord convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.

Coen provides masterful direction along with a technical achievement in filmmaking with a level of artistry rarely achieved in films, and it’s certainly one of the best Shakespeare adaptations. Coen also covers ground that was formally walked upon by Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski and recently in 2015 Justin Kurzel. however, Coen surpasses them with his German expressionistic style which felt stark and severe as the noir aspects with the blades of light displayed onscreen by Coen and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel. It’s theatrical and cinematic all rolled into one as it’s shot in black-and-white with a 1:33:1 aspect ratio that harkens back to the end of the Silent picture era. The frame is a neatly pictured square that is also reminiscent of classic Hollywood and truly evoked the filmmaking style of that golden age.

The film drops us instantly into a realm that reveals in the eeriness, ethereal and otherworldly which showcases the text becoming a provocative backstabbing historical epic that carries along with manipulation, soaring anger, and ambition and prophecy that embeds itself throughout the film creating stages of madness in each sequence further showcasing the loudness of power and how it succumbs you.

Fog and smoke obscure this silvery landscape as lights cast harsh shadows and silhouettes. The sets are stark and minimal and fade into each transition from one scene to the next which felt similarly theatrical as if watching sets being moved and repositioned on a stage, in fact, the Macbeth was filmed entirely on sound stages which also provides a hybrid between film and theatre and ultimately gives the film a dreamlike and hypnotic quality.

Many of the sets were built in sections and put together whilst relying on beautiful matte paintings to fill in the environments, which is also feels like another throwback to the multi-plane ingenuity reminiscent of Citizen Kane.

The score by Carter Burwell also plays a part in this Shakespearean story as he delivers a genre-filled symphony that intertwines with the story as it serves the purpose of making the audience uncomfortable and essentially drives the story forward. He uses the dialogue himself as a melody.

The real component of what makes all the above work so remarkable is the cast, made up of an ensemble of incredible actors who’ve made their names both on stage and screen. Leading them are Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. They truly bring the best of both worlds here as they understand what works for the camera. Washington is magisterial in the title role, he brings a vocal flavour to the dialogue and he beautifully shows Macbeth losing his ways. Though he also gives Macbeth a quality of vulnerability as he grows more desperate in covering his tracks.

McDormand (who also produces) meanwhile brings an element of desperation to Lady Macbeth’s ambition, as she grasps for power that has long eluded her. She is his hard-edged conspirator- turned madwoman.

The casting of Washington and McDormand both in their sixties truly brings a sense of stifled ambition and a generational power grab. Both have a familiarity with Shakespeare as having done adaptations of his work before and it truly shows how powerful and award-winning their performances truly are.

Then there’s Kathryn Hunter who astonishingly plays all the three witches who prophesy Macbeth’s ascension and doom. A physical performance with limbs contorted as she shapeshifts with twisted movements using a deep, booming voice which is sinister as their nature and motivations are unknown. Hunter’s character is the first witch we meet and she brings this world of supernatural dark magic to life as she manifests her gaunt form into a trio of shrouded silhouettes. Hunter’s physicality and presence are utterly captivating.

The other actors are well cast and truly bring their skills to Shakespeare’s work. From Brendan Gleeson’s quietly prestigious King Duncan to Corey Hawkins’ Macduff, an antagonist fired by the youthful integrity and then vengeance. Carvel’s Banquo felt very sympathetic whilst Alex Hassell portrays the nobleman Ross with intrigue.

Overall every element of the Tragedy of Macbeth, from the hard, cold furniture to the swirling crows and drifting fog. The film truly gets to grips with the tales dark emotions as it’s one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare’s work I’ve seen recently.

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