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Mini-Series is becoming a Series on ABC this Fall! More details to follow
-- but for now, get a refresher on what the series was all about.
Dinotopia, the epic story of a
lost continent where dinosaurs and humans live together in an almost-utopian
world, is brought to life as one of the most lavish and technically complex
productions in the history of American television. A six-hour miniseries airing
in May 2002 on the ABC Television Network.
Dinotopia is based on the
best-selling books by author/illustrator James Gurney.
story begins when Frank Scott (Stuart Wilson, The
Mask of Zorro), a wealthy American, crashes his plane into the Caribbean. He
appears to perish, but his two teenaged sons, Karl (Tyron Leitso, Snow
White: The Fairest of Them All) and David (Wentworth Miller, Popular),
survive, only to find themselves castaways on Dinotopia, a fantastic lost
continent where humans and dinosaurs peacefully co-exist.
Karl and David are constantly at odds, even as they struggle to adjust to
life in their strange new world.
colorful human inhabitants include resident rogue Cyrus Crabb (David Thewlis, Seven
Years in Tibet), a descendant of shipwrecked pirates who lives as an outlaw
in the utopian society; smart, beautiful Marion (Katie Carr, Mrs.
Dalloway), who is in training to be a matriarch and leader of her people;
Marion’s father, Mayor Waldo (Jim Carter, Shakespeare
in Love), overseer of Dinotopia’s spectacular capital, Waterfall City; her
mother, revered matriarch Rosemary (Alice Krige, Star
Trek: First Contact) and Oonu (Colin Salmon, Tomorrow
Never Dies), commander of the Skybax Corps (humans that train to fly huge
Pterosaurs with 30-foot wingspans).
– who captures both Karl's and David’s hearts – leads the brothers to
Waterfall City, where Mayor Waldo welcomes the “off-worlders” and has them
enrolled in the capital’s academy so they can learn to become Dinotopians.
They’re soon befriended by the talkative Zippo, an academic
Stenonychosaurus who speaks 17 human and Saurian languages.
Upon receiving their Dinotopian assignments, cynical Karl is assigned to
a Saurian “hatchery” where he’s charged with overseeing the birth of an
infant Chasmosaurus named 26. David
– terrified of heights – is ordered to partake in Skybax training on the
very frontier of Dinotopia, Canyon City.
The brothers soon discover that they’ve arrived at a critical moment in
the history of this lost world. The
sunstones, a force of life for Dinotopia, are mysteriously failing, and
Dinotopia may soon be plunged into darkness and chaos.
The boys are the keys to Dinotopia’s survival, but in order to save
their new home, they must journey to the World Beneath, a dark and dangerous
territory forbidden to all the continent’s inhabitants.
of the miniseries’ dinosaurs (including key character Zippo) were created by
FrameStore, the company that handled visual effects for the award-winning Merlin,
Arabian Nights and Walking
With Dinosaurs, using state-of-the-art digital special effects.
A team of 75 computer animators, architects/designers and CG staffers
worked full-time on the company’s largest project to date.
Eight staff members alone made up the “Zippo Squad,” working
exclusively to bring the character vibrantly to life.
Additional dinosaurs, including the adorable baby 26 and the giant
prehistoric reptiles called Mosasaurs, were created by Jim Henson's Creature
Shop in London. 26 was hand-held,
and her intricate, life-like movements were controlled off-screen by two
Creature Shop operators, allowing the baby to blink, breathe and wriggle her
Dinotopia was shot at London’s Pinewood Studios, home to the James
Bond films, and holds the record as the largest production at Pinewood to date.
The miniseries occupied nine sound stages at the peak of production.
The set for “Waterfall City,” the magnificent capital of Dinotopia,
which resembles Manhattan sitting atop Niagara Falls, was the largest built
anywhere in Europe and occupied two and a half acres on the Pinewood backlot.