WASHINGTON (Aug. 2, 2007) – National Geographic’s new giant-screen film “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure,” premiering worldwide in IMAX and other specialty theaters on Friday, Oct. 5, 2007, brings to life the extraordinary marine reptiles of the dinosaur age on the world’s biggest screens in both 3-D and 2-D. From the giraffe-necked Styxosaurus and 20-foot “bulldog” fish Xiphactinus to the T-Rex of the ocean — the 40-foot super-predator Tylosaurus — these wondrous beasts defy imagination.
The film, narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Liev Schreiber and with an original score by longtime musical collaborators Richard Evans, David Rhodes and Peter Gabriel, takes audiences on a remarkable journey into the relatively unexplored world of the “other dinosaurs,” those reptiles that lived beneath the water. Additional information on the film, as well as an educational poster, lessons and activities for teachers and informal educators, can be found at www.nationalgeographic.com/seamonsters.
“This is the first giant-screen film about what lived in the water during the dinosaur age,” said producer Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Giant Screen Films and Special Projects. “It is perfect subject matter for such an immersive format, one that allows these giants to literally swim off the screen and directly into the audience.”
The Cretaceous world was very different from the Earth we know. Eighty million years ago, places such as Kansas were at the bottom of a great inland sea that divided North America in two. A warmer climate meant more of the globe was submerged — Europe was just a smattering of islands, much of Asia was underwater and a shallow ocean engulfed nearly all of Australia. On this sodden sphere, cold-blooded seagoing reptiles flourished, and as these ocean giants died, their skeletons were left in locations that are now high and dry.
“Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure” weaves together spectacular photorealistic animation with standout finds from paleontological digs around the world — treasures that shed light on the film’s incredible cast of characters.
The film follows a family of Dolichorhynchops, also known informally as “Dollies,” as they traverse ancient waters populated with saber-toothed fish, prehistoric sharks and giant squid. On their journey the Dollies encounter other extraordinary sea creatures: lizard-like reptiles called Platecarpus that swallowed their prey whole like snakes; Styxosaurus with necks nearly 20 feet long and paddle-like fins as large as an adult human; and at the top of the food chain, the monstrous Tylosaurus, a predator with no enemies.
“Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure” is a remarkable visual journey that also educates audiences on the “How do we know that?” side of paleontology. Do scientists need full skeletons to learn about these creatures? Not always, as we learn from shark teeth found throughout the central United States, proof that these modern-day hunters were thriving during the age of dinosaurs when Kansas was at the bottom of the sea. How do we know what these creatures ate, and what pursued them? The shapes of jaws and teeth provide dietary clues, and occasionally paleontologists are lucky enough to discover bones of one species inside the remains of another. In fact, one fossilized Xiphactinus, a 17-foot-long predatory fish, was found with an entire 6-foot fish inside — swallowed whole.
From fossil digs to larger-than-life visions of predatory chases in shallow seas, the film immerses audiences in a rarely explored environment during the dinosaur age. Merging ultra-high-resolution 3-D graphics with National Geographic’s trademark authenticity, compelling imagery and powerful storytelling, the film is a perfect combination of subject and medium: ancient leviathans of the deep brought to life in the world’s biggest film format.
Distributed by National Geographic, “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure” will be supported by companion books for both adults and young readers in standard, 3-D and pop-up formats. A video game licensed by Destination Software Incorporated will be released to coincide with the worldwide premiere of the film and will be available on the Sony PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™ and Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo. These, plus an additional line of “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure” licensed products, including plush toys, puzzles and apparel, will be available at www.nationalgeographic.com/store. Additional information on the film can be found at www.nationalgeographic.com/seamonsters.
National Geographic Giant Screen Films is part of National Geographic Ventures (NGV), a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, National Geographic Giant Screen Films produces original 2-D and 3-D productions for the world’s largest screens. National Geographic Giant Screen Films also retains distribution rights to one of the largest film libraries in the giant-screen industry.