New documentary Flying Monsters 3D offers a fascinating look at pterosaurs, a class of prehistoric airborne reptiles that look like they flew straight out of Avatar’s cinematic menagerie.
The National Geographic movie, written and narrated by well-traveled British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, makes its U.S. premiere Friday on digital 3-D and IMAX screens.
Flying Monsters soars at the intersection of informative science and head-trip special effects, as can be seen in the preview clips above and below. The movie features some pretty heavy pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that dominated the skies for 150 million years as dinosaurs pounded the ground. The awesome creatures include death-from-above predator Darwinopterus, bizarro brute Quetzalcoatlus, lumbering Dimorphodon and windsurfing weirdo Tapejara.
“Pterosaurs are marvelously suited to 3-D,” Attenborough said in a press release. “It’s thrilling to see the world as they did and to watch as the largest flying creatures the world has ever known come to life in every detail.”
Those looking for a happy ending might want to look elsewhere: Pterosaurs were wiped out during the K-T extinction event, along with plenty of other plant and animal life. But those looking for fascinating monsters once found on our still-fantastic planet should feel right at home.