The idea for the movie came from a December 2005 story in National Geographic magazine that explored the creatures of the Cretaceous seas. Shot and created entirely in 3-D, the 40-minute film contains a lot of computer-generated footage, and Truitt says five animation houses in four countries worked on the film.
Kansas is also a treasure trove of marine fossils, because during the Cretaceous Period, the Western Interior Seaway stretched from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, with much of present-day Canada, Mexico and the western and southern United States underwater.
Kids (and grown-ups) with a thing for dinosaurs should see this thrilling IMAX 3-D spectacle about the 82-million-year-old creatures that swam about the world’s oceans killing, playing, surviving and generally being just totally cool to look at. With ample production help from the National Geographic Society, this gripping adventure narrative is undoubtedly as accurate as it is well-told. Five special-effects companies in four countries had a hand in creating the stunning computer animation that makes up the bulk of the film. The re-created scenes of scientists doing their work in the field are also fairly astonishing for their 3D-friendly framing and orderly sense of movement.

We saw the preview for this when my youngest sister visited and we took her to the IMAX for the 3-D version of Harry Potter. Check the website for showings in your area, to view the movie trailer and to download cool kid’s activities related to the subject. To get realistic-looking water for the ocean scenes, Truitt and her team needed footage of open water. Using photos of those actual sites, they “found places in Kansas that looked very, very similar. Narrated by Liev Schreiber and set to music by Peter Gabriel, this Imax extravaganza, produced by National Geographic (and funded in part by the National Science Foundation), follows its little dolly from birth to her extraordinarily peaceful death from old age. Whether the scene is of ghostly prehistoric jellyfish floating before your eyes or time-lapse scenes that depict millions of years going by in seconds, the results are consistently extraordinary. Dirt stains on a car window or dust filtering through a paleontologist’s brush never looked so lifelike.

Because modern-day sea life wouldn’t have existed in the Cretaceous Period, they could only use shots of fish-free ocean.
In a few contrasting live-action segments, paleontologists unearth the bones of these creatures, some of which have undigested fossilized fish within their petrified bellies. Of course, there’s a science lesson in all this excitement, but that can take a backseat to the coolness of the high-tech fakery. It would have been really cost-prohibitive to have gone to Israel and Australia and all the various places that appear in the film,” she explains.

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