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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 13 2014 - 01:44 PM

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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Blu-ray Review

Cosmos, Dr. Carl Sagan’s 1980 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning science series, has been given a spit and polish reinvention in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey that brings its marvelous queries and explorations of the universe both near and far into sparklingly clear and emotionally diverting reality. As before, this new version of the series takes complex scientific principles, discoveries, and speculations and breaks them down into an average viewer’s realm of understanding making for one of those thrilling documentary informational series like Planet Earth or Life that makes one feel more knowledgeable and more open-minded after he has finished viewing it. This is must-see TV.


Cover Art


Studio: Fox

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 9 Hr. 13 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

keep case with leaves in a slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 06/10/2014

MSRP: $59.98




The Production Rating: 5/5

With Dr. Sagan’s death in 1996, the impetus of his work has been carried forward by his widow Ann Druyan who serves as producer, writer (with Steven Soter who also was part of the original series), and occasional episode director on this new series of shows. As before, the new Cosmos carries us backward and forward in time and everywhere from the inside of a dewdrop to the farthest reaches of the universe in illuminating the creation and continuation of the cosmos in all its complexities and marvels. In order to tell its story, the producers have combined live action photography from around the globe, astounding 3D computer graphics, and emotionally charged standard animation that keep each densely-packed episode vividly varied in its presentation. So thickly crammed with information are these episodes that one might feel overwhelmed if more than one or two of these shows are viewed in a single sitting. Better to allow yourself the option of digesting the spectacles found in each one for a time before diving headfirst into a new one.

Hosting the new series is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who displays the same natural ability as Carl Sagan to introduce complex theories and mind-blowing speculations as naturally as telling a bedtime story and makes for a most ingratiating galactic guide. In his Ship of the Imagination, he takes us to far away galaxies, to the rims of black holes, inside molecules, and back and forth in time to introduce us to some of the legendary names of scientific investigation: Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton, William Herschel, Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday. (These mini-biographies of the famous men and women of science are voiced by a star-packed team including Richard Gere, Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina, Cary Elwes, Amanda Seyfried, Kirstin Dunst, and producer Seth MacFarlane, among others). Among other tantalizing scientific topics handled during the series’ thirteen episodes are rogue planets, the age of the Earth, the end of our sun, the future of the cosmos, global warming and our mammoth carbon dioxide problem, and the hopeful rediscovery of science as a key to survival. Without preaching or proselytizing, the underlying theme of the series is obviously to put forth scientific facts not in dispute as a way of waylaying nay sayers who continue to insist in the 21st century that these truths are in some way dangerous or to be avoided while offering more fanciful explanations of the miracles of creation and the history of the cosmos.

Here are the thirteen episodes of the series as contained on four Blu-ray discs in this set:

1 – Standing Up in the Milky Way
2 – Some of the Things That Molecules Do
3 – When Knowledge Conquered Fear
4 – Hiding in the Light
5 – A Sky Full of Ghosts
6 – Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still
7 – The Clean Room
8 – Sisters of the Sun
9 – The Electric Boy
10 – The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth
11 – The Immortals
12 – The World Set Free
13 – Unafraid of the Dark



Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

The episodes are presented in the widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. With its dramatic mix of CGI, live action, and traditional animation, this is a show made for high definition, and the sharpness, clarity, and excitement of the presentation is peerless. Color is dramatic and richly saturated without ever seeming over-the-top. The black levels of space are densely black and endlessly appealing. Just as Planet Earth was the touchstone to the first generation of high definition viewers, so this series now serves as reference quality video for our current generation. Each episode has been divided into 12 chapters.



Audio Rating: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix again offers reference quality audio especially for a television series. Dr. Tyson’s commentary is excellently recorded and has been placed in the center channel along with the dialogue from the animated biographical segments. Alan Silvestri’s commanding score gets a magnificent rendering in the front and rear channels, and the sound effects will rock your viewing environment when supernovas explode or we approach the rim of a black hole in our Spaceship of the Imagination.



Special Features Rating: 4/5

Audio Commentary: the first episode contains commentary by producers Ann Druyan, Mitchell Cannold, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark and animation director Kara Vallow.

Celebrating Carl Sagan (34:37, HD): Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ann Druyan speak at the dedication ceremony at the Library of Congress which now houses the late scientist’s papers.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey at Comic-Con (40:03, HD): Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Brannon Braga with moderator Jonathan Rose address a sold out auditorium at the 2013 Comic-Con in anticipation of the program’s premiere.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues (41:20, HD): a behind-the-scenes look at the original 1980 series and the making of this new updated version with many of the crew members discussing their contributions to making the new series unique.

Interactive Cosmic Calendar (HD): allows the viewer to choose any month on the cosmic calendar and see a clip from one of the show’s episodes which pertains to that particular moment in the history of the universe.

Promo Trailers (HD): 3 Days to Kill, 24: Live Another Day.



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Highly recommended! Not just for lovers of science but for anyone with even the slightest curiosity about our world and the vast universe that contains it, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey should be required viewing. With its reference quality picture and sound and some of the most outstanding people in the realms of science and entertainment coming together to present an informational series that’s factual and entertaining, this show should be on everyone’s must-see list.


Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted June 13 2014 - 05:28 PM

Thanks for the review, Matt! This is a terrific series, worthy of its title.


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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   atcolomb

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Posted June 13 2014 - 05:35 PM

Already have my copy after seeing it broadcast on tv.  A great follow up to the original series and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a good job talking about the cosmos and Carl too.



#4 of 18 ONLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted June 13 2014 - 05:49 PM

I really want to see this, and might just end up buying a copy.  I saw the first episode when it aired, and then for various reasons wasn't able to get to it every week.  This is sort of a new dilemma.. do I buy a copy for $30, or do I watch it for free on my TV, because I think it's still being offered legally through the cable on demand?  That the Blu-ray is reference quality might push me towards buying... thanks for the fantastic review!



#5 of 18 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted June 13 2014 - 06:40 PM

Wow. watched this on BBC1 around early 1980, at my aunties on small National Panasonic tv tape radio, in the kitchen.  



#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 13 2014 - 06:43 PM

Wow. watched this on BBC1 around early 1980, at my aunties on small National Panasonic tv tape radio, in the kitchen.  

 

Yes, the original series. This, of course, is a modernized follow-up to that program series with additional information culled in the last thirty-plus years.

 

I probably should have mentioned in the review that there are brief clips from the original Cosmos that pop up here and there during the shows and in the bonus features, and they look very soft and fuzzy in HD. The picture quality here is truly state-of-the-art.


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#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted June 14 2014 - 01:04 PM

I watched this as it aired and enjoyed it. Being a big fan of the original, however, left me with kind of a flat opinion for Dr. Tyson. He's very qualified for sure, but Dr. Sagan's speaking cadence and style just seemed a perfect fit for the original PBS series.

 

The animation didn't work for me, either. I would have preferred shorter bits with actors rather than the non-detailed characters that wound up on the screen. 

 

I'm probably just old and set in my ways; maybe when there's another re-boot in 30 years, the children of today will wax nostalgic for Dr. Tyson.


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#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Virgoan

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Posted June 14 2014 - 01:42 PM

Ordered and shipped based on your review. I love this kind of stuff!!

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   cb1

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Posted June 14 2014 - 03:43 PM

I bought mine yesterday. Episode 1 looked awesome.


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#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted June 14 2014 - 07:28 PM

I watched this as it aired and enjoyed it. Being a big fan of the original, however, left me with kind of a flat opinion for Dr. Tyson. He's very qualified for sure, but Dr. Sagan's speaking cadence and style just seemed a perfect fit for the original PBS series.

 

The animation didn't work for me, either. I would have preferred shorter bits with actors rather than the non-detailed characters that wound up on the screen. 

 

I'm probably just old and set in my ways; maybe when there's another re-boot in 30 years, the children of today will wax nostalgic for Dr. Tyson.

 

I loved the animation. I've long felt that live-action reenactments on this type of show tend to come off as kind of stodgy and unconvincing. But with animation, you know you're looking at an illusion anyway, so it becomes easier to connect with what's actually happening in the story being told. For me, anyway.

 

I actually thought that was an ingenious way of handling the history.


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#11 of 18 ONLINE   Mark Walker

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Posted June 14 2014 - 07:40 PM

Fantastic review, Matt!

 

Ordered!

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Blu-ray Review

Cosmos, Dr. Carl Sagan’s 1980 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning science series, has been given a spit and polish reinvention in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey that brings its marvelous queries and explorations of the universe both near and far into sparklingly clear and emotionally diverting reality. As before, this new version of the series takes complex scientific principles, discoveries, and speculations and breaks them down into an average viewer’s realm of understanding making for one of those thrilling documentary informational series like Planet Earth or Life that makes one feel more knowledgeable and more open-minded after he has finished viewing it. This is must-see TV.


8a79ab6aaf4a0403561f07a7b155bf32.jpg

Studio: Fox

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 9 Hr. 13 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

keep case with leaves in a slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 06/10/2014

MSRP: $59.98



The Production Rating: 5/5

With Dr. Sagan’s death in 1996, the impetus of his work has been carried forward by his widow Ann Druyan who serves as producer, writer (with Steven Soter who also was part of the original series), and occasional episode director on this new series of shows. As before, the new Cosmos carries us backward and forward in time and everywhere from the inside of a dewdrop to the farthest reaches of the universe in illuminating the creation and continuation of the cosmos in all its complexities and marvels. In order to tell its story, the producers have combined live action photography from around the globe, astounding 3D computer graphics, and emotionally charged standard animation that keep each densely-packed episode vividly varied in its presentation. So thickly crammed with information are these episodes that one might feel overwhelmed if more than one or two of these shows are viewed in a single sitting. Better to allow yourself the option of digesting the spectacles found in each one for a time before diving headfirst into a new one.

Hosting the new series is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who displays the same natural ability as Carl Sagan to introduce complex theories and mind-blowing speculations as naturally as telling a bedtime story and makes for a most ingratiating galactic guide. In his Ship of the Imagination, he takes us to far away galaxies, to the rims of black holes, inside molecules, and back and forth in time to introduce us to some of the legendary names of scientific investigation: Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton, William Herschel, Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday. (These mini-biographies of the famous men and women of science are voiced by a star-packed team including Richard Gere, Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina, Cary Elwes, Amanda Seyfried, Kirstin Dunst, and producer Seth MacFarlane, among others). Among other tantalizing scientific topics handled during the series’ thirteen episodes are rogue planets, the age of the Earth, the end of our sun, the future of the cosmos, global warming and our mammoth carbon dioxide problem, and the hopeful rediscovery of science as a key to survival. Without preaching or proselytizing, the underlying theme of the series is obviously to put forth scientific facts not in dispute as a way of waylaying nay sayers who continue to insist in the 21st century that these truths are in some way dangerous or to be avoided while offering more fanciful explanations of the miracles of creation and the history of the cosmos.

Here are the thirteen episodes of the series as contained on four Blu-ray discs in this set:

1 – Standing Up in the Milky Way
2 – Some of the Things That Molecules Do
3 – When Knowledge Conquered Fear
4 – Hiding in the Light
5 – A Sky Full of Ghosts
6 – Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still
7 – The Clean Room
8 – Sisters of the Sun
9 – The Electric Boy
10 – The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth
11 – The Immortals
12 – The World Set Free
13 – Unafraid of the Dark

 

 

 

 

Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

The episodes are presented in the widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. With its dramatic mix of CGI, live action, and traditional animation, this is a show made for high definition, and the sharpness, clarity, and excitement of the presentation is peerless. Color is dramatic and richly saturated without ever seeming over-the-top. The black levels of space are densely black and endlessly appealing. Just as Planet Earth was the touchstone to the first generation of high definition viewers, so this series now serves as reference quality video for our current generation. Each episode has been divided into 12 chapters.


Audio Rating: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix again offers reference quality audio especially for a television series. Dr. Tyson’s commentary is excellently recorded and has been placed in the center channel along with the dialogue from the animated biographical segments. Alan Silvestri’s commanding score gets a magnificent rendering in the front and rear channels, and the sound effects will rock your viewing environment when supernovas explode or we approach the rim of a black hole in our Spaceship of the Imagination.


Special Features Rating: 4/5

Audio Commentary: the first episode contains commentary by producers Ann Druyan, Mitchell Cannold, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark and animation director Kara Vallow.

Celebrating Carl Sagan (34:37, HD): Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ann Druyan speak at the dedication ceremony at the Library of Congress which now houses the late scientist’s papers.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey at Comic-Con (40:03, HD): Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Brannon Braga with moderator Jonathan Rose address a sold out auditorium at the 2013 Comic-Con in anticipation of the program’s premiere.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues (41:20, HD): a behind-the-scenes look at the original 1980 series and the making of this new updated version with many of the crew members discussing their contributions to making the new series unique.

Interactive Cosmic Calendar (HD): allows the viewer to choose any month on the cosmic calendar and see a clip from one of the show’s episodes which pertains to that particular moment in the history of the universe.

Promo Trailers (HD): 3 Days to Kill, 24: Live Another Day.

 

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Highly recommended! Not just for lovers of science but for anyone with even the slightest curiosity about our world and the vast universe that contains it, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey should be required viewing. With its reference quality picture and sound and some of the most outstanding people in the realms of science and entertainment coming together to present an informational series that’s factual and entertaining, this show should be on everyone’s must-see list.

Reviewed By: Matt Hough

Support HTF when you buy this title:

 


Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#12 of 18 OFFLINE   Brian Dobbs

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Posted June 18 2014 - 04:44 AM

Why 4/5 on special features?



#13 of 18 OFFLINE   FWAJMB

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Posted June 18 2014 - 05:24 AM

I found the series to be overtly anti-Christian, anti-religion and politically biased.  The picture quality, however, was astounding.



#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted June 18 2014 - 05:28 AM

I found the series to be overtly anti-Christian, anti-religion and politically biased. The picture quality, however, was astounding.


Nonsense.
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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Jonathan Perregaux

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Posted June 19 2014 - 09:08 AM

Actually, the series is anti-ignorance... which is as it should be. We've spent enough ages in self-imposed darkness. For example, I wonder how many times someone invented calculus only for it to be lost? (burning of the Library of Alexandria by the Romans, etc.)

 

By the way, is there an isolated score on these discs? I accidentally found one.

 

I popped in Blu-ray disc 2 on my PS4... and all I hear is music. Neil starts talking, but no words are coming out. I ejected the disc and popped it back in and then I had dialog and music back.

 

I went looking for an isolated score in the menus but I couldn't find one.


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#16 of 18 OFFLINE   vidiot33

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Posted June 19 2014 - 11:58 AM

I found the series to be overtly anti-Christian, anti-religion and politically biased. The picture quality, however, was astounding.



#17 of 18 OFFLINE   vidiot33

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Posted June 19 2014 - 12:02 PM

Academia in general has become increasingly secular progressive. Scientists go to great lengths to explain the intricate complexity and balance of the universe WITHOUT a Creator. Cosmos ridicules positions of faith obliquely, and like most modern science programs, makes sweeping assumptions based on very little fact. In support of this, any student familiar with the history of science will attest that today's facts are tomorrow's fallacies...

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted June 19 2014 - 12:43 PM

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Academia in general has become increasingly secular progressive. Scientists go to great lengths to explain the intricate complexity and balance of the universe WITHOUT a Creator. Cosmos ridicules positions of faith obliquely, and like most modern science programs, makes sweeping assumptions based on very little fact. In support of this, any student familiar with the history of science will attest that today's facts are tomorrow's fallacies...


In an attempt to sideswipe science you have, in fact, pointed out its very fundamental truth. Science is the examination and pursuit of understanding. It seeks to explain, through the tried and true scientific approaches, what we would not otherwise understand with any degree of accuracy.

That today's facts may be corrected by tomorrow's understanding is the glory of science. When we know more, we know more. Theories are presented with caveats ("Scientists believe..."). It's the best we know with what we know. The earth was recently discovered to be older than originally thought. That's the progress of understanding. Doesn't mean we stop saying how old we think it is based on what we know today.

And, without getting into a debate about beliefs, of course it goes to great lengths to explain the intricacies of the complex universe...that's the wonder of science and the curious mind. If, after all the testing, peer reviews, analysis and mathematical madness the answer is a single creator, then so be it, but science doesn't set out to affirm a belief, it sets out to ask a question, find an answer, ask another question based on that answer, and so on and so forth.

This was explained, very patiently, in the series itself. And the enormously important soul of Mr. Tyson has made that abundantly clear in interview after interview.

 

I found absolutely no evidence of faith being ridiculed. None. And I am a man who has a strong faith, for what it's worth.


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