History Channel // 2007 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // February 14th, 2008
Does the lost book of Nostradamus really predict the end of the world?
Lost Book of Nostradamus is the shocking true story of a book containing the lost prophecies of Nostradamus! Witness as the greatest minds of our time scour this book for what the future holds for us! Thrill as one of the greatest secrets of our time is revealed FOR THE FIRST TIME ON TELEVISION! The excitement is going to KILL YOU!
This is a small sampling of what it's like to watch Lost Book of Nostradamus. One-sided reporting and a lack of the proper historical context, all wrapped up in sensationalistic hyperbole.
We all know who Nostradamus is: a guy from the 1500s who wrote several books containing little quatrains that quite a few people believe predict the future. According to Lost Book of Nostradamus, this is true, without absolutely no dissenting voices presented. There are no skeptical voices amidst the hubbub; just a bunch of historians and scholars who claim that the quatrains are gospel truth.
This bias is even more pronounced when they talk about the supposed Lost Book of Nostradamus. From all the evidence they presented, I was extremely doubtful that Nostradamus had anything to do with this book. But somehow, they took the same evidence and presented it as a way of proving that the book is legit. One of the pages, a page stating that the book is a work of Nostradamus, turns out to be from the 1800s and not the 1500s when Nostradamus lived. The narrator said that this means the work must have been very important to warrant such evolutions in its text.
That's just what I was thinking and not that, oh, the page was inserted much later to inflate the importance of a bunch of bizarre watercolor drawings from the 16th century.
At one point an expert states that Nostradamus did not possess the artistic ability to produce these drawings. But don't worry, another expert says that Caesar, Nostradamus's son and a painter, did the paintings when Caesar was just a child because the paintings were obviously not done by an adult since they are so crude and childish. On the one hand, the drawings could be done by a child; on the other, they're too complex to have been done by Nostradamus. It's not that it's impossible that Caesar could have done the drawings. It's just that the documentary goes to a great deal of trouble to make things fit.
Lost Book of Nostradamus is nothing more than sensationalism. It foretells the end of the world and talks of coming tragedies with a dramatic score playing in the background. It throws out all objectivity and rationality just so it can tell its story of wizards and prophecies. This is even more infuriating considering it comes from a station that calls itself The History Channel.
Adding insult to injury, The History Channel has actually packaged another documentary about Nostradamus on the disc. Nostradamus: 500 Years Later was released in 2003 to celebrate the 500-year anniversary of Nostradamus' birth. And guess what: Nostradamus: 500 Years Laters is much better than the feature presentation. It presents both sides, it's better organized, and it gives a historical context for the predictions, as well as numerous explanations for what they might mean. While Lost Book is little more than a pulpit for the believers to preach from, 500 Years Later lets both the skeptics and the believers take a turn at bat.
There are additional scenes on the disc, but they don't clarify anything. Instead, they just muddy the waters further. According to one deleted scene, Nostradamus states in one of his prophecies that the end of the world will come in 3797. Which is interesting considering in The Lost Book, much ado was made about the year 2012. The world can't end twice, damn it, so which is it, 2012 or 3797?
Lost Book of Nostradamus is guilty of shock and awe with little or no real substance. If you get this disc, skip the main feature and watch 500 Years Later instead; that's the only worthwhile thing on it.
Review content copyright © 2008 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Feature-Length Documentary "Nostradamus: 500 Years Later"
* Additional Scenes