HTF DVD Review: The Future: A 360° View

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Middlemiss, May 28, 2009.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer

    Nov 15, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss
    The Future: A 360° View

    Studio: Image Entertainment / Discovery Channel
    Year: 2007/2008
    US Rating: NR
    Film Length: 7 Hours
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    Audio: Dolby Stereo Surround Sound
    Subtitles: N/A

    US Release Date: May 5, 2009
    Review Date: May 28, 2009

    The Show - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    "If there is a technology that can be applied to a human problem, you go about setting out to make that happen"

    Two Discovery Channel shows come together for this release which takes a look at the possibilities of our tomorrows – possibilities that have had their seeds sewn today. The first show, 2008’s Nextworld briskly explores some absolutely fascinating technology in play today and hypothesizes, envisions and excites us with where this technology could take the human race in the future. In the first episode on disc one, ‘Extreme Tomorrow’, the show documents high concept technologies such as mobile X-Ray, advanced robotics, flying cars and a special printer that can create 3D objects such as cutlery and food (for now).

    While the narrator finds himself posing bold statements that tend to infer that each of us will have an in-home robot, an android double and a jet-pack to take us to and from work within the next 50 years – he is merely echoing the posits of the pioneers of these technological advances. Throughout the seven episodes that made up season one, we get a glimpse of planes that will fly us by themselves, the development of roads in space (just like the ones in Back to the Future II), personal submarines, aqua-cars and teleportation.

    What will quickly become obvious is the repetition. The first episode, ‘Extreme Tomorrow’ has segments that pop-up through the other episodes, albeit pieced together a little different and with additional information. However, it does become a little frustrating when watching back to back to hear the same information.

    Disc Two contains all four episodes from the 2007 show Building The Future and focuses more on threats, today and tomorrow, and how humanity is devising, designing and developing ways to address those challenges. In the first episode, the world’s energy problem is the main focus and explores alternative energy sources – though not just the wind and hydro options that many of us are already aware of – though they are explored here as well. We are introduced to the potential of a new type of energy source, found in abundance on the Jupiter moons, a substance which is merely frozen methane. Though it emits greenhouse gases, it is in such abundance that it could fuel the earth’s energy needs for 3000 years. The most fascinating footage is the building of a wind turbine in Holland’s Wind farm in the North sea.

    Building The Future spends more time on a technology – delving a little deeper, versus the far quicker pace of Nextworld and as such is more interesting. But that does not diminish the ‘cool’ factor gained from the subjects that Nextworld touches on.

    Nextworld and Building the Future have different layouts, approaches and narrators, but they are good bedfellows. This collection of 10 episodes covers a good range of issues and ideas that are a part of our futures. The subjects vary from worrying to wowing in easy strokes and are good fun to watch.

    The Episodes

    Disc One - Nextworld
    1.Extreme Tomorrow
    2.Future Life On Earth
    3.Future Intelligence
    4.Future Cars
    5.Future Flight
    6.Future Ships

    Disc Two - Building The Future
    7.The Energy Solution
    8.2nd Century Shelter
    9.The Quest for Water
    10.Surviving Natural Disasters

    The Video - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The 10 episodes over two discs are presented on DVD from Image Entertainment and the Discovery Channel in a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and are enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    There is a little difference between these shows when it comes to video quality. Nextworld is newer and therefore is a little crisper, sharper and brighter – but both shows look good here on DVD, with good black levels, pretty good color balance and suitable details. Some footage used, older footage, is much softer and grainer – but anyone who has spent an entire afternoon vegged out on the couch enjoying Discovery HD or the Science Channel HD will be used to older footage that doesn’t look as good showing up from time to time

    The Sound - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The ten episodes come with just a Dolby Digital Stereo audio option – but considering the show lives predominantly on interviews and narration – and the dominance of the center channel with dialogue – it suits the show fine. The music and various whooshes and zipping sounds employed move across the front channels and from time to time you will catch sound in the surrounds, but not enough make a difference.

    The Extra’s - No Stars out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    No extras, no stars

    Final Thoughts

    I love these kinds of documentary shows. They are brisk and exciting enough to keep your interest from start to finish. They use the same dramatizing music and sound effects that less serious shows like Monsterquest and UFO Hunters use to great effect and, in Nextworld’s case in particular, zips around using a number of different angles to keep the eyes constantly satisfied. This is a worthwhile purchase – low cost, highly entertaining and educational to boot.

    Overall Score - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Neil Middlemiss
    Kernersville, NC

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