HTF REVIEW: "Life's Greatest Miracle" (Nova) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Life's Greatest Miracle

    Studio: PBS/Warner Brothers
    Year: 2002
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 60
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame 1.33

    One of the things I am going to start doing over
    the next few weeks is to start reviewing Special
    Interest product from the likes of National
    Geographic, Nova and The Discovery Channel. Hopefully
    through these reviews I can help expand the knowledge
    of members of this forum in addition to my own.
    I think all of us can clearly remember back to
    6th grade when the teacher would roll in the 16mm
    projector and show educational film about how
    babies are made complete with a highly disturbing
    birth sequence that you never seemed to be able
    to get out of your head.
    Life's Greatest Miracle sort of tones down
    those educational films of the past with this remake
    of Lennart Nilsson's world famous film "Miracle of
    Life." This completely updated edition Hosted by
    John Lithgow tells a inside-the-womb story of human
    life from conception to birth using the latest technological
    advances in microscopy and medical imaging.
    Did you know that throughout the world, 365,000
    new babies are made a day? This is because we as
    humans are constantly vying to reproduce. A man
    will churn out 1,000 new sperm a second (2 trillion
    over a lifetime) while eggs inside a woman's body
    will continue to get nourished. All this in
    preparation for reproduction where the two will
    meet and pass DNA information that will form the
    building blocks of a new human life.
    Meet Melinda and Sergio who are expecting their
    first child. As they look at pictures from both
    sides of their family, they begin to wonder what
    their newborn child will look like. Will the baby
    have his or her father's eyebrows? Perhaps the
    eyes of his or her grandmother? All of this comes
    from DNA structure that passes traits between
    Life's Greatest Miracle is a fascinating
    documentary that takes us through the very earliest
    moments of conception as we look into a woman's
    uterus as a sperm is propelled into the fallopian
    tube on its way to the egg. It's amazing to see
    just how difficult a journey this is for the tiny
    sperm to penetrate an egg. Did you know that more
    than 50% of all fertilized eggs fail to develop?
    As cells divide and divide again, creating the
    building blocks that create an embryo (or perhaps
    two), we examine Melinda's reactions from morning
    sickness to her changes in eating habits.
    The documentary goes on to show us the embryo
    in different stages. In as early as 3 weeks blood
    vessels are forming inside. In 4 weeks we can see
    a primitive backbone, a large brain and even an eye.
    We watch in amazement as cells turn on genes which
    transform the embryo into a girl or boy. An embryo
    with 2 X chromosomes will make a girl. If one of
    those X's is a Y, it will be a boy.
    Through micro imagery of Swedish photographer
    Lennart Nilsson, we watch the embryo go through
    monthly stages from the bones, hands and legs that
    start appearing in the 4th month right on up to the
    final moments when the uterus contracts as the
    woman is about to give birth.
    How is the transfer?
    I don't want to rate this educational presentation
    as I would a theatrical film, but I can tell you
    that the video presentation is extraordinarily
    sharp, bright and detailed. Full of vivid colors,
    this is a very clean transfer that gives us an
    un obstructive view of the miracle of life.
    I was surprised to find that this was one of the
    few documentaries that boasted a Dolby surround
    track. Don't expect much of anything from it.
    While the sound is quite robust with more bass
    than most other documentaries I have recently
    watched, the surrounds rarely kick in. In fact,
    any surround activity was briefly noticed at the
    beginning beach scenes where the sounds of waves
    could be heard in the rear channels.
    Final Thoughts
    I have yet to be disappointed with any of the
    recent Special Interest DVDs I have recently
    watched. Though the story of human birth has
    been told to us since we were children, watching
    Life's Greatest Miracle makes it all seem
    new again thanks to Nilsson's stunning endoscopic
    images of life inside the womb that opens up a
    hidden world that few have ever seen.
    A terrific educational tool with additional website
    support and content from NOVA.
    Release Date: NOW
  2. DavidS

    DavidS Stunt Coordinator

    May 24, 2001
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    Your synopsis says Full Frame but the screenshots look like Non-Anamorhpic Letterbox (which leads me to wonder why this title isn't anamorphic).
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
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    This title would have greatly benefited
    in anamorphic.

    As for the specs I provided -- that came
    off of the Press Release. Retail sites are
    also listing these specs so that is the way
    I decided to keep it.

    Oddly, there seems to be a lot of problems
    with specs on these documentaries. The
    Discovery Channel release of Moby Dick:
    The True Story
    listed 16x9 widescreen on
    the back of their packaging but the program
    was in full-frame.
  4. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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    Ron, thanks so much for adding PBS Documentaries to your review list! I, for one, find these not only educational, but entertaining. When there's nothing good on TV, I find myself gravitating toward PBS, the Learning Channed, and the Discovery Channel. In fact "Shark Week" begins Sunday!
    Something you can watch with your children....
    tuck them in and pull out your favorite Director's Cuts!
    After all, you gotta be well rounded [​IMG]

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