"The human brain, one of the last great frontiers...We've learned more about it in the last 5 years than in the last 5,000 years...For the first time, we're actually seeing what's going on in the brain during sex...What makes some brains evil?...And is there really such a thing as ESP [ExtraSensory Perception]?...Technology is finally unlocking the secrets of the brain. It's explaining why we behave the way we do. It's helping experts develop new methods and machines to boost our brain power. And its revealing the untapped abilities that we all have inside our heads."
The above is what the narrator states in the introduction of this interesting documentary that uses simple analogies, real-life case studies, and state-of-the-art computer generated images.
This program is not about explaining detailed anatomy of the brain. Instead it features experts in brain studies (interweaved with narration) explaining a brain-related topic (like those given above: sex, evil, ESP) and brain function while fantastic animations provide an additional look of what's going on in the brain (learned through brain-imaging techniques) at a specific time.
Eleven brain-related topics are discussed. Eight of these topics last between 8 and 12 minutes while three last between 4 and 6 minutes.
The last topic is particularly interesting. Discussed is the future of the brain and how technology may interface with the brain to enhance its abilities for all of us.
I was amazed at the scope of what this documentary covers. However, each topic is given brief treatment (as can be inferred from the above times). It feels that we are given a sample of each topic. This documentary provides a good starting point if you want to do additional research into a topic.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2009) is perfect in picture and audio quality. There are no subtitles but there is closed-captioning. There are no extras.
In conclusion, this is certainly an interesting program and you'll be amazed at some of the new discoveries in brain studies. I leave you with the last words of the narrator:
"For all that we have learned about the brain, we still have so much to discover...If we do manage to answer [many] questions [we still have about the brain] over the course of perhaps one more life time, what will this mean for the brain, an organ that is so complicated yet so often driven by primitive instincts?"
(2008; 90 min; a History Channel presentation; wide screen; 12 chapters)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>