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Walking With Cavemen
How did our ancestors come to invent language, to shape the world with tools, to create art, and to imagine the future? The award-winning team behind Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts brings you this missing link in the story of life on our planet.
Breaking the mold of previous "Walking with" offerings, the BBC's Walking with Cavemen sees Professor Robert Winston follow in the footsteps of ancient man in a series that traces the history of humanity from bipedal ape-men (Australopithecus Aphaeresis) to the awakening of the human mind's potential with Homo Erectus. Over four fascinating half-hour installments, Wilson presents an accessible and populist, but still suitably anthropological study on how apes became human and the traits that we inherited from our earliest ancestors.
Unlike Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Beasts, Cavemen combines CGI with actors to portray the characters in the story of man. Initially this seems to make it far less technically impressive than the earlier programs--memories of Stanley Kubrick's 2001 are inevitable--but fortunately the acting is superb and the viewer soon forgets that these are people in monkey suits. The series also makes use of a special effect called "deep time-lapse", which shows in a matter of dramatic seconds the thousands of years of geological changes that sped up our ancestors' evolution. Wilson himself takes part in the action as if he is a modern-day naturalist following lions across the Serengeti rather than creatures long extinct. This approach makes for a more immediate as well as poignant interpretation of history: the result is an enlightening and moving tribute to the human journey. --Kristen Bowditch
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, not everything produced on Discovery is meant for children. There are still many, many adults who wish to learn about the past and appreciate a more academic presentation then would occur if a show such as this were aimed at a more younger audience. I guess it is taken for granted by a lot of the media that once one becomes an adult, all that matters are sports competitions and sitcoms. This series thus was extremely refreshing to watch.
That being said, I came away from watching "Cavemen" with a newfound respect for our ancestors. All too often they have been portrayed as comical dimwits, running around with clubs and dragging women by their hair. Now I realize this is actually very disrespectful and totally inappropriate. These very ancient ancestors managed to learn to survive some of the worst environmental conditions imaginable, grew more creative over time and with this creativity laid the foundations of modern civilization. As stated in the series, the discovery of fire not only chased away the denizens of the night, but also provided an opportunity for homo sapiens to learn to create,to reflect, become more emotional creatures and allow for the development of higher brain functions.
Neanderthals especially have had to bear the brunt of many a joke. Although their species did not survive, they can hardly be termed a failure.Read more ›
Well, it is the latter epoch that is covered by this DVD. It is an overview of human evolution, 7 million years in the making. It takes us from the dawn on man all the way up to about 140,000 years go; long time ago for us, but mere seconds ago on a cosmic timescale.
Along the way the documentary displays diverse humanoids, some of whom make it, some of whom don't. It also demonstrates their interaction with long-extinct species of animals that were around the same time they walked the earth.
I must caution that the DVD pulls no punches when it comes to showing the animalistic traits of primitive man. The rites of courtship, hunting, eating and gutting of animals are all shown with uncompromisingly graphic demonstrations. I would not recommend this video for young videos, nor would I suggest that anyone watch it while eating. Some of it is not the most appetizing of images in the world.
That said, it is quite remarkable to identify just how much we modern humans have in common with these early products of evolution. If we look closely, we will see a lot of ourselves in them.
The late astronomer Carl Sagan once remarked that, if the history of the universe were shrunk to the scale of a calendar year, all of humanity exists would exist in the last 10 seconds of that year. This scientific expose is a glimpse into those 10 seconds. As Stephen J. Gould once said, "We stood up first and got smart later." Here is OUR story of how our ancestors stood up, got smart and began their long, slow and tenuous march towards civilization.
It is a fascinating insight to what might have been. Of course a lot of what you will see on this DVD is supposition, mixed in with fact, fiction and a healthy dose of imagination. We will never really know the whole truth of our Caveman ancestors as we only have bones, and cave paintings to rely on but to a certain extent this is enough and Professor Winston does try to give a plausible explanation as to how and why the human race left the trees and evolved into the people we are today.
There are four episodes, First Ancestors, Blood Brothers, Savage Family and finally, The Survivors and each half hour includes a "time-lapse" so that we can rush through pre-history to the next journey of our evolving ancestors.
Professor Winston is a pragmatic narrator who is able to put across a point without being condescending to the watcher, his humour is subtle and his understanding of the human mind is quite staggering. Roll on the next "Walking with..." series; I wonder what it will be called? "Walking with Astronauts?"
Most recent customer reviews
Were did we come from? we were born from our moms , no I mean were did homo sapiens come from? the answers to our evolution is on BBC's Walking with Cavemen. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Tyler Reece
Having watched the tv debut of this series, then the purchased DVD I would have to complement the final product as a better effort, especially from the choice of narration. Read morePublished on March 24 2004 by Dr. Kenneth T. Bastin MD
Having now seen both verisons I have to say the uncut BBC two part production is the best. Longer, doesn't spoon feed you and the DVD has LOTS of extras - fact files, photo... Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by Michael Valdivielso
Over the duration of the 'walking with' series, I've really come to question what validity it has. I know that there is probably some merit in seeing recreations of what the... Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2003 by C. Moon
This documentary is totally inappropraite for children and should not be advertised as a part of the "Walking with..." series. Read morePublished on July 8 2003 by Mary Lent
What made the "Walking With..." series worth seeing was the creation of photo-like moving pictures of prehistoric animals as they may of been. Read morePublished on July 7 2003 by Alan Poropat
I haven't seen the DVD version, but if Alec Baldwin is narrating it I won't bother buying it. He is living proof that every village does indeed have its own idiot, and that he... Read morePublished on June 27 2003 by D.G. Campbell
Let me just say I love Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts. Those two are such absolute masterpeices. Read morePublished on June 24 2003
I hate to criticize the Discovery Channel, but what programming executive ape decided they needed to dumb-down and Americanize this excellent documentary? Read morePublished on June 18 2003 by Jim Allison