PBS // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2011
Chernobyl's nuclear wilderness.
As much as I wish this was a documentary about an elite group of American black ops soldiers who assassinate druglords and terrorists and are only known by their awesome nickname the "Radioactive Wolves," this release is, quite literally, about wolves that are radioactive.
Now that Chernobyl has been opened for limited access to researchers, one angle recently taken up is the examination of the ecosystem (if you want to call that). As we all know, the Soviet nuclear power plant lit up and pumped out enough radiation to empty the surrounding geography, effectively turning an entire slice of real estate into an uninhabitable wasteland. What I didn't know: the belched-out radiation was equivalent to 400 Hiroshima bombs.
Seizing on the opportunity to investigate the long-term effects of the fallout as it applies to the biosphere, a pair of Russian researchers head into the wilderness to see what's up and this 60-minute feature tags along. What they find is surprising: a thriving utopia where all creatures great and small have been adapting pretty well. Without us pesky humans running around with our Droid cell phones and rampant obesity, nature has put together a solid comeback story, with new Alpha dogs in charge. As in they're real dogs: the wolves.
How did the ecosystem rebound? Why are the wolves such studs? What can all this tell us about nature as a whole? These are the questions the documentary attempts to answer and along the way we get a fascinating -- and chilling -- examination of the Chernobyl disaster. A solid little episode of the PBS series Nature that's worthy of a look, if the subject matter compels you.
The DVD: a very, very nice 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 surround and no extras.
Second look at nuclear holocaust? The lupines would be appreciative no doubt.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated