More fearsome than anything Hollywood could ever dream up, huge reptiles prowled the ancient seas and continue to prey on our imaginations with Sea Monsters 3D: A Prehistoric Adventure

Sea Monsters 3d at Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England AquariumBoston, MA - September 25, 2007
Let the New England Aquarium’s Simons IMAX Theatre be a time machine to take you back 82 million years to a world where dinosaurs ruled the earth and ferocious reptiles ruled the sea. National Geographic’s new giant-screen film Sea Monsters 3D: A Prehistoric Adventure brings to life the extraordinary marine reptiles of the dinosaur age in a three dimensional, photo-realistic film that will stun audiences, leaving them ducking for cover against these prehistoric beasts.

The film premieres worldwide on Friday, Oct. 5, kicking off the Aquarium’s newest theme program, Killer Instincts. The media are invited to press screening of the 45-minute-long film on September 26 at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX theatre, which features on the largest screen in New England.

The film, narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Liev Schreiber and with an original score by longtime musical collaborators Peter Gabriel, Richard Evans and David Rhodes, takes audiences on a remarkable journey into the relatively unexplored world of the dinosaurs that lived beneath the water. Funded in part through a grant from the National Science Foundation, the film delivers the fascinating science behind what we know of this era along with a vision of history’s grandest ocean creatures.

“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 3D 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 Dollies (Dolichorhynchops), a seal-like reptile, 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 3D 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.

“The real science shown in this film is exhilarating as it allows us to understand and explore a vanished world more fantastic than any ‘monster movie’ fiction,” said Sean Phillips, the film’s director. “Combine this reality with such an immersive medium, and it makes for one hell of a great movie experience.”