Part 2: Time of the Titans

Time: 150 million years BCE

Place: "Colorado," during a warm period when Pangaea is starting to break up and there is no ice at the poles

Actual Locations: California State Parks, Chile, Tasmania, New Zealand

The first year of life for a Diplodocus occupies the first portion of this episode, from the egg laying through the hatching and the search for food. When the little heads come popping out of the forest floor, we feel momentarily transported to Spielberg land, even Disney world. The legend "One Year Later" evokes a chuckle after so many larger time announcements in the series.

Despite the fact that part 2 is possibly the most "conventional" of the seriesí looks at dinosaurs, there are some distinctive details: the camera passes calmly over the sight of defecating and farting Dipolodocus; we get a closeup of a dung beetle at work; there is a subtle and brief mating sequence during which Branagh notes that mating "is a dangerous activity for the female," who must support an extra 10 tons on her back; and we are introduced to Agnurognathus, a small pterosaur who lives, feeds, and breeds on the back and side of Diplodocus (as do damselflies, who get a brief closeup). Brachiosaurus is also one of the supporting players in this part.

The filmmakers provide but donít belabor a short, unsensational incident of forest fire, which includes the cries of trapped dinosaurs and a smoking carcass in the morning light. Probably the most visually exciting sequence involves the encounters of adolescent Diplodocus, a Stegosaur, and an Allosaur in a narrow, green canyon (although late in the episode, an Allosaur tries unsuccessfully to take down a grown Diplodocus, as well).

Thereís quite a bit of surprising and not entirely convincing color. Ornitholestes, familiar to long-time saurian fans only in standard dull dinosaur grey or brown, has startling red eyes at the center of baby blue eyepatches. The Allosaurs have bright red eyebrow ridges, and Stegosaurs throw a defensive display pattern of fiery orange into their back plates.