After running for his life from saber tooth tigers, Judge Brett Cullum was angry to find out they were only cheap CGI.
Our review of The Prehistoric Collection, published May 30th, 2009, is also available.
Roland Emmerich inspires a documentary.
History Channel: Journey to 10,000 B.C. is an hour and a half look at geologic and archeological observations about what life was like when men first came to North America. Of course, this documentary was produced to tie-in with the rather fantastical fictional studio film 10,000 B.C., and it makes a great companion piece for those interested in what things were really like when woolly mammoths and saber toothed tigers roamed Earth. It's a grounded scientific piece without much fluff other than some almost animated looking sequences that recreate the life of nomadic tribes of the time through the magic of cheap CGI. The biggest portion of the program consists of scientists from various universities and fields talking about the significance of fossil findings, stone arrow heads, and the challenge of discovering much when you were looking at nomadic people who buried their dead in trees rather than in the ground. The whole point is that we know general things about this era, but a lot of the science is hypothesis and not firmly backed up. There is still a raging debate on how people got around, what their primitive weapons meant, and whether or not the saber tooth tiger was a major threat.
The DVD is a "no frills" affair that simply contains the program without any supplemental material. The image is unenhanced and not anamorphic, but looks clear enough for this type of outing. It's interesting the transfer is not specifically presented for widescreen televisions, and I am not sure why the History Channel persists in doing this for all their releases. The image has a soft look, especially when it goes in to the CGI world recreations, but overall it looks alright. A stereo soundtrack does what it needs to do without many problems. Basically all you get is the television program presented just as it aired on the History Channel. My biggest beef with these releases is that if you catch the program on TV, there is no reason to purchase the DVD. You don't get anything new or added, and the transfer will look exactly the same as it did on cable.
The documentary is entertaining and a good lesson about what scientists know about the era. The CGI sequences tend to be a bit cheesy, but it is interesting to see and hear what everyone thinks could have happened. The problem is we don't know enough yet to completely reconstruct what life was like for mankind in the era, so the program becomes a bit speculative and repetitious. Overall, it's a strong counterpoint to the misinformation that was in the feature film 10,000 B.C., but the DVD is so bare bones, a rental seems more likely than a purchase. Still, it does make you glad to be living in our current era with all the comforts and resources we are given. I was shocked to learn that woolly mammoths did not help build the pyramids like they did in that big screen movie. My innocence has once again been shattered by academia.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
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