Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
The Dinotopia (The Ultimate Collection) box set, comprising the miniseries and the Ďcompleteí TV series, is a must for any Dinotopia fan, even if it does have one hugely disappointing aspect. The physical product is absolutely gorgeous. It comprises a beautifully illustrated outer box, which contains an even more lavishly illustrated DVD case with six DVDs.
I could just have sat admiring the covers for ages, but in the words of the tagline ďa secret world is about to be revealedĒ so I eagerly put the first disc of the miniseries into the DVD player and I was certainly not disappointed. The opening was exciting, and soon one of my favourite actors made his appearance - David Thewliss as Cyrus Crabb, a fascinating character whose moral allegiance keeps you guessing until the end.
For a long time fan of the books by James Gurney, It was glorious to see the world of Dinotopia come to life, and the talking dinosaurs - especially Zippeau - were a delight. The movie also featured able performances by Alice Krige as Rosemary and Katie Carr as her daughter Marion, and Tyron Leitso as Karl and Wentworth Miller as David, the two stranded boys.
Sadly, the TV series that followed wasnít so enjoyable. Several changes were made to the series that didnít sit well. The two boys were radically miscast. Erik von Detten was cast as Karl, a complete contrast to the movieís Tyron Leitso. In fact he looked more like Wentworth Miller, and Shiloh Strong as David looked more like Tyron - seeing the two boys virtually reversed in looks was really hard for me to get my head around. That, and von Dettenís appalling acting, were a real let down.
Replacing Katie Carr with the less charismatic Georgina Rylance, and emphasizing the relationship between her and Karl was a mistake. So was introducing Liz Zane as the completely superfluous character Le Sage (a sort of bandit lady who looked like she escaped from the set of Pirate of the Caribbean) . In spite of this I kept watching - the world of Dinotopia is just too seductive, far more so than Le Sage, who just tried too hard.
Of course, in the real world the series was cancelled mid season, and unfortunately, thatís just how it is in the box set. The DVDs end on a cliff hanger and there is no more, not even a hastily cobbled together final scene to at least give the viewer some closure. TV execs really do treat their viewers badly, but this is just shameful.
Itís a pity the covers promised so much and only delivered half the promise. Still, my grandchildren adored it, and the mini series stands the test of time. But whether the gorgeousness of the box set is worth it is a moot point - since I got my copy on special (and with my own funds) I didnít lose much.
Dinotopia The Complete Collection is available in Australia and New Zealand in Region 4 format. You can buy it on Ebay, although it is not yet available on Amazon.