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Alien Planet

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wayne D. Barlowe, Curtis Clark, James Garvin, Jamie Hanes, Stephen Hawking
  • Directors: Pierre de Lespinois
  • Writers: Peter Crabbe, Steve Eder
  • Producers: Pierre de Lespinois, Frances LoCascio, James R. Cowan, John Copeland, Tomi Landis
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Sept. 1 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B002C39T2I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,794 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Genre: Television: Discovery ChannelRating: NRRelease Date: 1-SEP-2009Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting production aimed at simulating what humanity's first mission to find life on another planet outside of our solar system. The program is 2 hours long, and starts with a fairly detailed description of the mission logistics and components. What follows is the "adventures" of two semi-intelligent probes sent to explore the new world below.

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.
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The proposed robotic mission to the Earth-like planet was well devised, as were the creatures that were dependent upon their environments to survive. The appearance of George Lucas was a nice touch. The only drawback were the frequent clips of the scientists who were essentially saying the same thing over and over ("Life can exist on other planets..."; "We are foolish to think we're the only ones in the universe...."). If they would have explained how the creatures they proposed actually evolved on the planet and why they did so, it would have made more sense for their frequent interruptions. Overall, though the special effects were great and the robots treks across the landscape were impressive.
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if you like fantasy aliens and the possibility of life on other worlds... the family will love this video ... i have watched them repeatly ... nice
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa75e1b4c) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa636e6e4) out of 5 stars Alien Planet June 23 2005
By J. Hylton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Imagine a world like our own, just 6.5 light years away - but teeming with life forms unlike anything found on Earth.

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
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa636e738) out of 5 stars Outstanding Oct. 20 2005
By Timothy R. Perez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Finally! Someone has gotten it right! Regardless of your beliefs on life on other worlds, this is a truely epic adventure for all of humanity.

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.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa636eb70) out of 5 stars Interesting... Sept. 20 2005
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, let me say I did enjoy the DVD, but it could have been better. First off, it is 94 minutes long, but some of that is overlap because they took out the commercials but left in the commercial breaks. The interviews do make for nice extras but they have only one with Stephen Hawking and a few seem to be repeating what the scientists said in the show.

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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa636eb58) out of 5 stars An intriguing voyage to a planet outside our solar system!!! March 6 2006
By STEPHEN PLETKO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD

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)

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6370030) out of 5 stars Alien Planet Review March 22 2006
By Eve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
It was a very fun and interesting concept and I did enjoy the movie, although if you are a parent purchasing it for a child under the age of 10 be advised it might be a little slow paced for them. And be prepared to answer plenty of questions! There is a fair amount of scientific info and narrative that younger kids don't find quite as interesting. That being said, I know my son still enjoyed it and I would recommend it to others who would like to encourage their child to find something different to entertain their brain! It's a wonderful opportunity to open an interesting dialogue with your child.