29.7.08

movie review: jurassic fight club

(Production Notes: We're sorry for interupting the flow of Traum's Melbourne adventure. As you'll see this is a time sensitive post, and it will be moved after its relevance goes away.

To the people at the History Channel kind enough to send us this press kit, we're sorry for the last minute nature of post. Due to the delays of posting down here to New Zealand we only just recieved the press kit TODAY an mere hour before the episode aired on the East Coast of the US.)

with my not being allowed to use my "cell"phone during the museum quest it came as a surprise that the instant i turned my phone back on that i got a call immediately!


it was my special talent agent peter bond. "traumador!" peter said in amazement and frustration. "i've been trying to reach you for a month!!!"

"sorry about that peter," i started to trying and explain.

peter cut me off though. "traum it's very important i find out where you are!"

"the melbourne museum," i matter of fact stated.

"perfect don't leave there," he ordered.

that was a bit of a ridiculous request. i was going to have to leave at some point.

"no no no!" peter had lost his typical cool when i started to protest. "listen traumador, your blog is starting to take off baby. so people are noticing it. big people traum."

"the history channel noticed your reviews of dinosaur movies, and they want you to take an advanced look at their new show jurassic fight club," he informed me. wow that was so cool! i got real excited. "i know there big guy, but there's one problem. the show airs tonight! meaning i'm super expressing you the press kit they sent me. it'll cost a bit, but the exposure will be great."

"really you think my site will give them great exposure?" i asked astonished.

peter paused for a moment. "yeah... give them exposure. exactly," he finally said. i asked him how they could afford to super post the kit to me in australia in under a day? peter replied. "well, you see due to the... contract. yeah contract. we sadly have to pay for that. no worries though. with the authority you gave me to see over your funds i've taken care of the airfare."

i knew i might regret giving peter access to my bank account... i was almost broke. AGAIN!

at the same time if this was going to lead to my big break than it was worth it!


a few hours later a call came over the museum PA. the kit had shown up, and what a kit it was. look at it! have a cool pop up book like inside... plus the first episode of the new jurassic fight club.

sadly the kit arrived just after the show aired on TV, but here's what you're in for if you have to wait for a rerun...

Jurassic Fight Club: Cannibal Dinosaur

General Summary

(remember this review is from a dinosaur point of view)

Score: 80%

Good Points:

interviews with actual palaeontologists

excellent graphics to illustrate facts

great build up to the AWESOME end battle!

Weak Points:

way TOO over sensationalized

only majungatholus was cast making cretaceous madagascar seem VERY empty!

Plot Summary

funny enough i don't have to say much. the whole show is a plot summary!

basically a fossil abelisaurid called majungatholus (which was actually renamed majungasaurus, but the show was made just as this change went into effect) was discovered in madagascar with bite marks on it indicating it had been eaten, and possibly attacked by another member of its own species.

the show goes through the fossil evidence of a possible confrontation (well in the show it is shown as a certain confrontation) between a male and female majungatholus ending in a huge mega show down between the two.

Dinosaur Celebrities and Stars

this is an easy show (well episode anyway) to do a cast list for. there are exactly three characters. all of whom are majungatholuses.

they include this rather orienimented male.

a very plain female, and (not pictured) her cute little baby.

it is great to see majungatholus (aka majungasaurus) get into a show of its own. abelisaurids in general seem to come up short in shows and movies due to their not being quite as large as us tyrannosaurids or their fellow southren hemiosphere giants the carcharodontosaurids. yet they were still impressive carnivores and theropods in their own right, just not the biggest.

which is probably how majungatholus caught the attention of the human producers. being the biggest predator on the newly isolated cretaceous madagascar it made an excellent centre piece for a show. especially for their well documented cannibalistic tendancies.

though it is worth mentioning that this ONLY casting majungatholus is one of the problems with this sample episode. madagascar had some really neat and unique dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures at this time. yet they don't show up at all! their not even mentioned.

the only hints at other animals even existing around majungatholus are small clips from other episodes we are shown through the course of this episode.

Dinosaur Portrayal

in some ways i know more about majungatholus by watching this show than i do any other dinosaurs in other modern documentaries (like walking with dinosaurs). the way they examine majungatholus' anatomy and fossils is very impressive and comprehensive for a show. very cool forensic style palaeontology.

do remember i said some ways though. the only behaviour we get is the boy/girl interactions of this abelisaur. they cover everything you could every want about majungatholus mating rituals and parenting, but nothing about in the life of. this is due to their being no other creatures shown. which i think was a wasted oppurtunity. many will walk away thinking abelisaurs just tried to kill each other...
Dinosaur Perception

despite the horrific premise of majungatholus fighting and killing each other (just like a bad old fashion dinosaur movie) it is done in a completely factual and mostly accurate manner.

we are given a detailed look at the science and evidence leading to this confrontation. with this tapestry it is very believable to see the end fight. i'm curious to see how we equally savage (though not as a deadly to each other) tyrannosaurs will be covered in the show.

my only grip with the perception this show gives, is that though the scientists interviewed and host "dinosaur" george blasing convey majungatholus as a real animal with real behaviour and motivations, the narrator goes WAY over the top on building up to the fight. everytime a fact is given in a reasonable manner the narrator restates it in over sensational rephrasing for no effect other than to waste time if i follow why properly. it made my grind my teeth a little while watching, and my sharp t-rex teeth aren't meant to do that owwwww!

Dinosaur/Human Relations

as this is a factual exploration of my ancestors (well okay abelisaur ancestors, as far as theropods go i'm barely related to them honestly) there are no human dinosaur interactions except for palaeontologists with fossils.

this was great because 99% of modern dinosaur human interactions is through you mammals finding and looking at our dead remains. it was awesome to see some of the science of palaeontology done on screen. though it would have been nice for some of the shots done in museum labs and collections to be slowed down, there was a lot of that fast CSI style editing going on at parts (i also laughed at how all the museums best specimens and casts were spread on the table for collections shots!).

Favourite Scene of the Movie

overall a great show, but one fact stated by "dinosaur" george really spoke to me.

"dinosaur brains are really simple, and go from on to off. their always living in the moment."

that so summarizes how my tiny brain works!!!

Score: 80%


More Episodes to come though!

again this was only a sample episode they gave me to review.

according to the package there's a lot more coming!

the next episode stars my cousin larry and his mate teresa tyrannosaur. as well as other pack of the primordial feather members nanotyrannus.

here is the nanotyrannus from this episode: t-rex hunter airing on august 5th

is it just me, or does this guy in this pic remind anybody of godzilla?

here is desdemona deinonychus posing for her episode gang killers airing august 12th

the tenontosaur from this same episode.

the next episode bloodiest battle airing august 19th allosaurs such as this one here go toe to two with their horned contemporary ceratosaur.

a stegosaur from maybe this episode or hunter becomes the hunted. i'm not sure. the promo disc only had the picture not the info.

this is followed on august 26th with deep sea killers where a megalodon shark takes on a brygophyseter whale.

on september 2nd ice aged monsters gives us a mega lion takes on a cave bear.

september 9th in hunter becomes hunted we get a second allosaur vs. ceratosaur match!

maybe this camarosaur is around to watch the fight... or he is from bloodiest battle. i'm not sure again an image with in details.

utahraptor takes on the tank like ankylosaur gastonia in raptors last stand on sept. 16th

on sept. 23rd largest killers will examine many of prehistories greatest predators...

than comes a program i've been waiting my whole life for! septemeber 30th river of death covers my home province!!! some albertosaurs goto pick a fight with a herd of pachyrhinosaurs!
i wonder if lillian is playing one of the albertosaurs? man not only a taste of home, but a hot babe on TV... as a t-rex i don't often get to look at girls on TV. well except my cousin's girl friend. not exactly someone you can oodle over...

another episode that could be about alberta (but will probably be in montana since their about the same in the cretaceous) a pack of dromaeosaurs try to catch an edmontosaur only to have a tyrannosaur (larry again) interupt their dinner in valley of fear on october 7th.

in the finale yet ANOTHER look at the extinction of dinosaurs. like we dinosaurs don't have this event rubbed in our faces enough at museums and such already! that's armageddon on oct. 14th.

27.7.08

best lobby ever! (melbourne museum part 1)

well i made it to the carlton gardens, home of the melbourne museum.

i really like the way that most museums down here on the southern half of the planet tend to be in the middle of big nice public gardens... whether these be botanic or normal.

the melbourne museum is a "new" addition to the carlton gardens though. the only building originally was the royal exhibition building.

this was the first building given UNESCO heritage statue in australia! making this the second UNESCO site i've been to (i'll do a post on my trip to the burgess shale sometime... it was before i even had a blog!).

its a pretty huge and majestic place. look how small i am compared to all if it!

my favourite part of the exhibition building though was the grandiose fountain it had... even if it wasn't running i could tell this was a top notch fountain. probably pretty old too. i'm not sure there was no sign about it anywhere for me to check.

overall its an impressive building... at least from the outside. i never did get to go inside sadly, but i'd guess it'd be awesome to go through!

right across from the backside of the exhibition building (the side in that last photo) is the melbourne museum.

unlike the exhibition building the museum is not old. rather a very new modern looking facility.

stepping inside the front door i immediately loved what i was seeing. the first thing was an actual life sized great white shark replica!

due to its being in a well lite, and clearly not underwater spot in the museum it didn't freak me out. hey that's two things today (this and the chinese dragon) that i've been brave around and not instantly scarred. maybe the only whiro business has toughened me up?

a very cool first sight to see in the museum. he's definitely the most accurate and life like model of a great white i've seen. which is saying something cause there was a few of them on the museum quest (here, here, and here for example)! the only shark that compares to this guy (and to be honest i couldn't pick one over the other) is the megalodon in new plymouth.

turning around i saw this bad boy (or girl?) an amargasaurus, and okay i saw something else but that can wait a moment...

i'd never seen an amargasaurus before. it was cool to see this bizarre and unique cretaceous sauropod.

sadly i couldn't talk to this individual and find out their story cause it wasn't really them as it were. rather than the actual fossils this was a cast mounted skeleton. meaning all the bones were copies of the originals.

this made sense as amargasaurus is from south america, and as of such not found in australia (which isn't to say they won't be found here. south america and australia were were connected in the early cretaceous... though to be honest it is unlikely that amargasaurus itself was here, but one of its relatives could have been).

as you can see i went a little camera crazy with the pictures of this fellow. it's just i've only seen a few sauropod skeletons in my life. the camarasaurus at the tyrrell and the mamenchisaurus in vancouver are the only two i can think of at moment. their spectacular dinosaurs, and great things to have in a museum. it just seems that i hit a lot of the places that don't have them (you just don't find them in alberta for example!).

anyways remember how i said i saw both the amargasaur and something else. well that something else was ms. rhonwyn... who of course was not only why i was at the museum, but australia in general.

walking up behind her i greeted her... rather than say anything back, next thing i knew her arms were around my neck and i was being picked up in a very tight bear hug.

"you did it!" ms. rhonwyn enthusiastically said as she put me down. just in time too... i was starting to see spots.

"yeah," i didn't know what else to say in response it was kind of obvious i'd done it. not that i wasn't at a total loss for words... my peanut sized brain was overflowing with questions!


just as i was about to ask about things like magic overdoses, mystic gradient radiations, kete o te wananga, maori gods, australia trips, and everything and anything to do with the museum quest... ms. rhonwyn thrown one last curve ball at me (i don't get the term curve ball... aren't balls by definition curved?!?).

"traum i know you have a lot of questions," she stopped me mid blabbering questions out. "i know i've got a few for you too. there's a few things exciting things going on around here today, and i need to deal with them."

i sure didn't like the sounds of these exciting things! not after the last time she said stuff was going on...

"relax traumador," ms. rhonwyn smirked. "it's nothing like the atua stuff at all. in fact i think you'll find a lot of it right up your alley."

wait 'right up your alley'. i knew that line from jurassic park...

before i could think on that more or ask any more of my MANY questions ms. rhonwyn firmly told me. "zip it. whatever you're going to ask can wait. i'm going to setup everything. you wander around the museum and enjoy yourself. i'll meet you in the dinosaur hall in one hour."

she made me agree to definitely stay away from the fossil section, and specifically the dinosaur hall for an hour. as ms. rhonwyn started to head off she concluded by teasing me. "it'll be worth the wait traum. i've got the biggest surprise for you!"

was everything always so mysterious with her? she was hardly ever at the otago at the best of times. when she sends you on a quest around a country she hardly gives you an directions or instructions. finally when you finish a job for her, she can't even stick around to answer some of your questions. it's not even like my questions are stupid (which is saying something considering my brain!).

though i won't lie the surprise has me intrigued. ms. rhonwyn seems pretty darn sure that i'm going to like it. what could it be?

oh well i've only got an hour before i find out. so i'll get back to you people of the web wide world once i've checked out some of the museum.

to be continued...

25.7.08

chinese new year! (down under part 2)

(Production Note: Yes we are aware it is not February anymore when these pics were taken, but we've fallen a bit behind schedule)

so here i was in the new country of australia, in the new city of melbourne. i'd just gotten a call from ms. rhonwyn to meet her at the melbourne museum, and so that was where i was going to go.

along the way i bumped into some fun festivities...

as i tried to cut through chinatown (i always thought china was a country not a town? and how do you get a town in the middle of a city?!?) on my way to the museum there was a HUGE crowd.

something big and, by the sounds of it, fun was going down ahead.
so i decided to take a few extra minutes to check this out. its not like i had an evil god chasing me anymore or anything!
there were tons and tons of booths and kiosks. some try to sell stuff, others advertising it. this nice lady was giving out pamphlets for a chinese opera, but it wasn't playing while i'd be in town (or at least i hoped! the show was in 2 months, and i'd like to get back home before than).

from around the street corner came the sound of approaching drums and fire crackers. suddenly a progression of drummers and a really fluffy monster came dancing/marching towards me and the surrounding crowd...

now i'd taken on whiro maori god of darkness one on one (and though i maybe didn't beat him by myself) a fluffy creature wasn't really all that scary in comparison. so for the first time i can think of people of the web wide world i wasn't frightened by such a sight!

well okay i may have let out a slight eep when it turned straight towards me and opened its mouth...


it was a chinese dragon making its rounds for the chinese new year!

neat.

i have to confess i don't understand why humans made or keep track of years. that alone why you can't all agree on when they should be. new years was a while ago, but yet here these guys (and dragon) were celebrating their new year.

this dragon had a pretty great group of keepers. not only did he have a dragon clown (just like those rodeo clowns at the stampede in calgary!) but a whole band of drummers who provided him with his own soundtrack everywhere he went!

i have to say my lack of getting freaked or scared at the dragon turned out to be smarter than i thought for a few reasons. first he was a herbivore, and wandered eating the lettuce that seems to grow rampantly on the front of every store in chinatown... funny as i've never heard of urban lettuce before!... and second of all he's so lazy that part of his keeping staff has to carry him around on their backs. look at them there lifting him up to his food!!!

well with the dragon wandering away down the street, and my having looked at all the kiosks it was time to go meet my boss for the first time since she'd sent me on the museum quest...

Museum Quest: Behind the Scenes

Production Note: Be sure to check out Prehistoric Insanity's look at the making of the Museum Quest here on the Tyrannosaur Chronicles.

23.7.08

across the ditch (down under part 1)

okay so this is a little crazy to say people of the innerweb. i thought i was going home here at the end of the museum quest, but boarding the plane i realized something was wrong... at least with home as the end destination. cause you see...

i'm in a totally different country!

it turns melbourne is in australia...

now don't get me wrong. i'm not complaining. just looking at these photos of the place its awesome! it's just not what i was expecting at all!!!

i've always wanted to get out and see the world... and australia the land down under has always been near the top of the list. so here i am, and ready to check this place out!

granted its a lot more civilized than many movies would have lead me to believe. this city is HUGE. way bigger than either auckland or calgary! more on par with vancouver in size.

well it just goes to show how much my horizons have expanded since i was fired by the tyrrell!
so rather than wander aimlessly around melbourne, i do have a specific thing to do while here. i need to meet up with ms. rhonwyn. both so that i can be debriefed on the museum quest, and more to the point so that i can get home to dunedin!

again not that i'm in a rush. as melbourne is a huge place i want to check it out a bit...

21.7.08

the airport... (down under part 0)

the museum quest had been over for a day, i'd gotten to poke around auckland a little bit (well okay just the aquarium really), and now it was time to go home...

so off to the auckland airport i went.

just a block away there was this huge as new zealand flag by the road. i thought it was kind of funny (especially considering what was to happen) considering i'd been from one end of the country to the other to have this as my final sight!

okay it sounded like an easy plan. head inside the airport, pick up the ticket ms. rhonwyn had bought for, and catch the plane and fly home...

man oh man was i in for a surprise. who knew that airports were so annouying and confusing?!?

the only time i'd EVER flown i was hiding in craig's suitcase, and though i have many complaints about that (it was cold apart from craig's clothes i could wrap up in, squishy, and hard to breath!) it really wasn't anything compared to trying to be a known flyer!

so there are line ups to get into line ups! after waiting over an hour to get to the desk, i finally got there to be informed that they didn't have a ticket for me!?!

i panicked people of the innerweb!

it wasn't that i couldn't have gotten home by paying for it myself (which the lady at the counter tried to sell me several times), it was that after everything i'd done it was only fair that ms. rhonwyn pay for my ticket home.

after insisting that ms. rhonwyn had bought me a ticket, the lady finally checked a new something on her puter and told me to goto the international terminal.

now from what i've been told most airports that would be annoying on its own, due to the line ups upon line ups you had to get back into, but at the auckland airport... the two terminals are both in totally separate buildings, a kilometre apart from each other!!!

if i'd had an luggage to haul with me (good thing i packed so light for the quest) i'd be even more angry at the hike than i turned out to be.

once there i only had to wait 45 minutes. once i finally had my ticket i had to go and catch my plane due to the delay...

on route to the plane there was a store with a giant tuatara statue... which was cool... and now that the quest was over not threatening (now that maori god whiro couldn't use them as his scouts here in the mortal world).

there was also this amusing comic in a magazine... not that i stopped in a magazine stand to look at the funnies.

so i was going to board a plane, and fly home to good old... MELBOURNE!!! why does my ticket say that and not dunedin???

where the heck is melbourne?!?!?

oh man and now there saying all electronic stuff has to be turned off. i guess that ends this post.

i guess i'm going to find out... let you know when i get there... where ever here is!

walking with the fishies

well with the museum quest done, there was one big question. what was i to do now?

ms. rhonwyn hadn't included any money or tickets for me to get back to dunedin, and i didn't think it would be fair for me to pay to get back home after what i'd done and put up with (despite screwing up a few times along the way).

than as though an answer to my questions an hour later ms. rhonwyn called me on my "cell phone". she had arranged a flight for me, and i had to be at the airport later tonight.

now i'd checked out the museum earlier of course, but there was still plenty of auckland to see. i knew just the place to go as a reward for a job well done.

auckland's aquarium... kelly tarlton's antarctic encounter & underwater world.


boy, do i love aquariums!

as a land critter (coming from alberta one of the furthest places from water in canada) i find water critters cool as...

they have some new and interesting fish here, and also some old favs.

including the poisonous puffer fish and...

lion fish.

oh and i found nemo! (and his dad ;p )

they had this crazy bright orange shrimp that was neat.

i also managed this. the best picture of a trigger fish i've ever taken!

the poor trigger fish was in the wrong tank though. just down from his spot was a whole tank filled with new zealand crayfish (known elsewhere as lobsters). a trigger fish's favourite food.

video

the centre display of kelly tarlton's is the stringray tank. not only were the new zealand stingrays huge, but so was their tank. check out this video of it i took.

here's a pretty still picture of it.

one of the inhabitants of the tank.

if you don't believe me when i say new zealand stingrays are huge just compare this one to the small boy in the pic.

they are also known as bull rays or short tail stringrays.

i always liked rays. even in oceanless alberta i saw them a lot. we had fossil fresh water rays from the cretaceous called myledaphus that left their teeth everywhere to find. it was really cool to see more than just the teeth.

they also had other fish in there with the rays. i couldn't find out what these were, but they were biggish and cool.

if you look at the title of kelly tarlton's antarctic encounter & underwater world, you might expect something antarcticy to be here. fortunately they deliver. first you go through a recreation of scott's cabin. than you hit this fake sign as though you were at macmurdo station telling you how far various are from antarctica.

then hop in a snowcat (motorized snow car) and take a ride. first you go through this snow storm recreation which was really educational. i had no idea they were so plastic and tubular...

wait a second, i've been in mini snow storms in alberta. they weren't plastic or tubular...

anyways the middle part of the ride was the best, and not lame or incorrect.

video
penguins!

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and more penguins!!!

man new zealand's been good to me on the penguin front. now i've seen king penguins and gentoo penguins too!

considering they were in captivity they had a nice sized enclosure. which is good i didn't want to see a repeat of the sad bit of happy feet.

after the ride there was only one part of the aquarium to go see. i got a pretty big clue on what was in it from the great white shark statue in the entrance.

as an aside, seriously there is someone down here in new zealand that makes these replica great white sharks for a living!!! there's one here at the auckland aquarium, one at the auckland museum, and even one at te papa.

inside was the COOLEST aquarium i'd ever been in!

sure you see them on the innerweb and TV, but i'd never been in an underwater tube!!!

making it even neater was that not only could you walk around underwater, but there was a moving treadmill. meaning you could just stand still and move through the submerged world... though to be honest i spent most of it on my own two legs.

right away there was a sea turtle. cool as!

sea turtles of course hail from my ancestors time in the mesozoic. as the only surviving marine reptile i always love seeing them (i saw some at vancouver's aquarium before recall people of the web wide world).

there were also some really big as blue mao mao fish.

yet another ray, but being underneath a LIVING one (i did just see the underside of a replica at the museum) was amazing!

i was so distracted by the ray that i missed all but a movement blur above my head...

that is till i turned around to come face to face with a shark! only unlike ALL the statues i'd seen in the museums of the quest these ones were alive and moving!!!

i was momentarily panicked, but fortunately the statue in the entrance, and my IDing this fellow quickly allowed me to calm down...


it was a school shark. not a particularly dangerous species of shark, and to be fair even "killer" sharks like great whites aren't that bad. i just have an overactive imagination on account of my small brain, and watching jaws at too young an age...

the tank just outside the tube (which was really not that thick... man i gotta stop thinking such cowardly thoughts) was jam packed full of sharks, and another new type swam past two seconds later.

a sevengill shark. these guys are a really primitive family of shark. the hexanchidae which have relatives present in the fossil record as far back as 200 million years ago.

once i got used to the sharks just swimming around me doing their thing i really dug this undersea tubeway thing.

sharks really are beautiful creatures, and shouldn't be feared... again i admit i've gotten into the fear hype. which is not a good thing, and i will work on it. in my further defense it doesn't help that back in my ancestors day 65 million years ago the "average shark" (these sevengill and school sharks being pretty average for nowadays in the holocene) were massive killers like cretoxyrhinas and squalicorax.

getting control of my phobia today i just enjoyed hanging with them, and pretending for the moment i was an undersea critter like them...

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with an awesome day spent at the aquarium i used up my free time in auckland.

i'm now on way to the airport, and from there back home to dunedin...

(or so i thought!)