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Genre: Television: Discovery ChannelRating: NRRelease Date: 1-SEP-2009Media Type: DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
What's good: there's around a dozen or so interesting new life forms that are explained in reasonable depth. The animation is unlike anything on Earth, and the animals are certainly interesting to watch. As the show progresses, the relationships between the different animals are revealed, which greatly adds to the enjoyment of the program. The CGI is quite good. Given that it's an alien planet, it's pure CGI (unlike the CGI-real world blend of Walking With Dinosaurs), but it still is lots of fun to watch. I thought the ending was appropriate and interesting. The 10-15 minute CGI discovery adventures are interrupted with 5-10 minute explanations from various scientists (and some artists), including several NASA scientists and Stephen Hawking. Some of their dialogue is really interesting.
What's not: Unfortunately, sometimes the dialogue is boring and/or discusses something that happened 15-20 minutes earlier. That can be distracting, and it takes away from the excitement and spontaneity of the exploration. Also, for some stupid reason, the program editors thought it would be a good idea to leave the commercial break lead-ins and follow-ups in this version. So, for example, you'll hear, "Coming up, the probe finds itself caught in a major storm, too big for it to avoid...". Yes, that's interesting on TV, but on a home DVD, it's just a waste of time and spoils the surprise of what will happen next.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Take a simulated journey into the near future, where astronomers and biologists alike marvel at the potential of Darwin IV, a nearby planet with two suns, 60% gravity and an atmosphere capable of supporting life. Having identified Darwin as a likely home for life, scientists send a series of unmanned probes to the planet. Initially, the expectation is to find microscopic life. But the probes soon find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem, teeming with diverse creatures of all sizes.
Peering through the "eyes" of the probes, marvel at the planet's bizarre inhabitants - like the lumbering Groveback, which supports a mini forest of vegetation on its back; deadly Prongheads who hunt in packs like wolves; and the graceful Gyrosprinter, an elk-like creature with a body dotted by luminescent biolights. The look and biology of each animal is based on the laws of evolution and physics, then modeled to fit the hypothetical environment of Darwin IV. Leading minds in the fields of paleontology, astrophysics and astrobiology explain how these creatures might evolve otherworldy characteristics like hollow bodies, "jet" propulsion and piercing tongue skewers.
One of the best shows I have ever seen. The attention to detail both in the environment and in the creatures is amazing. As both a scientist and a computer artist I can find no fault with any portion of this production other then it comes to an end and leaves my wanting more. The fact that there can possibly be life on another planet and we will soon have the technology to observe that is mindblowing. It has really gotten me interested in space and the creation of life. I thought it was very educational to watch. It fits in right along with Dinosour Planet, Future Is Wild, and the Walking With Series. Also good entertainment value, I hope they make a sequel
As the alien world unfolded before me, I was a little skeptical about the scope and purpose of this film. But after the first twenty minutes or so, I couldn't help but to become emmotionally attached to the AI probes as if they we're the children of us all.
If you have any sort of interest in cosmology or have even a shread of imagination, this excellent ride across the cosmos is for you.
I hope that each one of us carry's with them this sort of spirit in their souls. It will perhaps be the only way Earth's humanity will be remembered.
Also, Alien Planet seems to drag and there seems to be very few alien creatures in the show with little or no details about these creatures. I have to agree with the kid's review that said the book by Wayne D. Barlowe is better.
It's almost as if it was tossed together to try to make a quick profit. I might view it a few more times in the future but I would suggest YOU get it used.
This program is based on the book "Expedition" by Wayne D. Barlowe. (He was also executive producer and he makes comments in this program.) It is narrated by John C. McGinley (of the TV show "Scrubs"). The program was filmed entirely on location in Iceland and Mono Lake, California.
This computer-animated program simulates a voyage or mission to an exoplanet (a planet not of our solar system). Here are the particulars of this mission:
(1) Exoplanet name: Darwin 4, an Earth-like planet.
(2) Location: In a binary solar system. (This is a system where a pair of stars orbit about each other, held together by their mutual gravitational attraction.)
(3) Distance from Earth: 6.5 light years. (A light year is the distance light travels in a year, namely 5,880 billion miles).
(4) Decision: to send a robotic spaceship to Darwin 4.
(5) Reason for Decision: To investigate for possible life, especially microscopic life. If any intelligent life is found, attempt contact.
(6) Ship's name: von Braun.
(7) Speed or velocity of ship: 20% of c. ("c" is the speed of light, namely 186 thousand miles per second.)
(8) Number of probes with artificial intelligence to be deployed once Darwin 4 is reached: 3.
(9) Names of probes: Balboa, Da Vinci ("Leo"), and Newton ("Ike").
Once the probes are on Darwin 4, they encounter much more than just microscopic life. They find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem teeming with a diversity of life of all sizes.
Throughout the program are comments made by mainly scientists. Noteworthy scientists include Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku. A noteworthy non-scientist was George Lucas. All their comments are interesting.
The computer animation in a word is--fantastic. Except for a few spots, I found it difficult to believe the creatures etc. I was seeing were computer generated!
I found that some of the comments made in this program were debatable. As well, I did find one numerical error: we are told that the robotic ship would take about 42 years to reach this exoplanet. But if you plug in the appropriate numbers (see above) into the equation: Distance = (Speed X Time), you get about 32 years! Also the creatures on this planet are blind relying on sonar. But oddly, communication is attempted through visual means! However, since this program is so absorbing, most viewers will probably not notice these problems.
Finally, the DVD itself is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has two extras. The first extra is interviews with four scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku. These are interesting but Hawking gives more of an extended commentary than an interview. Strangely, the second extra is a preview of a motorcycle customization show. Why this was included, I do not know.
In conclusion, this program can be summarized in an equation: (Science + Speculation + Imagination) = Unique Show!!!
(2005; 95 min; wide screen; first televised on the Discovery Channel; 12 scenes)