The Creation of the Universe Studio: Paramount Year: 1985 Rated: NR Length: 92 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: English Dolby Stereo, Commentary track English subtitles; Closed Captioned in English Special Features: Commentary by Timothy Ferris SRP: $19.99 USD Release Date: September 7, 2004 The Creation of the Universe is a journey across time and space with award-winning journalist Timothy Ferris, in an effort to discover the origins of our universe. Set to an entertaining musical score by Brian Eno (who also scored the wonderful documentary “For All Mankind”), Ferris takes us on a journey back in time, across the universe, and around planet Earth. With the help of some of the greatest thinkers of our time, he presents the leading theories on the history of the universe, from a fraction of a second after the Big Bang until the present. This is an easy to understand interpretation of the work of astronomers and theoretical physicists, putting the ideas behind the history of the universe within reach of the layman. If you’ve seen Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, this 92 minute feature is very reminiscent of that series. The presentation feels a bit dated, but the theories are sound. Many ideas are presented with interesting animations and computer graphics, which, though nicely done, also feel a bit dated. Video The film is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, as it originally appeared on PBS. The video has a slightly below average sharpness, with no apparent artifacts from sharpening or compression. Grain is mild to moderate, as on the source print, and occasional dust and scratches can be seen. Colors are accurate and decently saturated, and black levels appear okay. Audio The English Dolby Stereo track sounds fine. Frequency response is good. Brian Eno’s music is well represented. This isn’t showoff material for your sound system, but it seems true to the source. Oddly, there are two separate brief interruptions in the audio, where the sound cuts out and there is about one second of 1 kHz tone, then the progrm audio continues. The first instance happens at about 37 minutes, and the second about one minute later. Special Feature Though not listed on the packaging, this DVD has a commentary by filmmaker Timothy Ferris. Ferris talks about some concerns that some people had over the title, intimating that the word “creation” had religious overtones which may not have been appropriate, since the film never touches on the possible religious interpretations of the creation of the universe. Ferris talks about his approach to the film, describing the methods used to convey difficult scientific concepts through animation and computer graphics. Special effects consumed one third of the budget for this film. Also discussed are the difficulties in getting some of the location shots, and some anecdotes on events that occurred during the production, including the inability to secure the rights to a couple minutes of Major League Baseball footage for the film. Not a bad commentary. Final Thoughts If you liked Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. If Cosmos put you to sleep, give this one a pass. For me, a science geek, I found it an enjoyable way to pass the time.