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Wing Commanders 

IMAX brings feathered dinosaurs to life on the super-big screen.

Dinosaurs Alive!, the Great Lakes Science Center’s latest IMAX film, promotes paleontologists’ beliefs that certain two-legged dinos were the forefathers of modern-day birds. When you check out the 3-D flick on the big-ass screen, you’ll even spot feathers sprouting from reptilian wings. “The idea that the robin on your lawn goes back to the ancestors of T. rex is pretty exciting stuff,” says film director Bayley Silleck.

Silleck and producer David Clark shot the 40-minute documentary during a “Mad Max-like” journey to regions where tons of prehistoric fossils have been unearthed -- like the barren, dusty Gobi Desert in Mongolia and the equally gritty badlands of New Mexico. The filmmakers then added animation over the footage, and voila! -- velociraptors, protoceratops, and seismosauruses build nests, take care of their young, and fight predators. “We’re constantly hearing that they died out, and they were big, dumb, slow animals,” says Silleck, who snagged an Oscar nomination in 1996 for directing another IMAX pic, Cosmic Voyage, about the vastness of the universe. “These dinosaurs were extremely agile and intelligent.” Silleck’s fascination with primitive creatures dates to his childhood, when he would marvel at the dino exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. All these years later, he says he’s still “knocked out” when he hears reports that 98 percent of dinosaur remains still haven’t been uncovered. “I’m certainly no different than other kids, but I’m obsessed with them,” says Silleck. “There’s nothing like a dinosaur with huge teeth to fire your imagination.”
June 6-24, 10 a.m., 12 & 3 p.m.

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