To get us in the mood for the launch of the seventh Star Wars film, discover its Definitive History. Documentary taking a behind-the-scene look at how the world's biggest, multi-billion pound movie series came into existence. Featuring rare interviews with Star Wars producers Gary Kurtz and Robert Watts and insights from those members of the creative team who won Oscars making the visual effects. Plus, a few little-known and surprising facts surrounding the film franchise.
The ultimate adventure in scientific inquiry, this fascinating program follows the exploits of a small group of pioneering mathematicians who discovered a whole area of study that is revolutionizing all branches of understanding in the world: fractal geometry. Fractals are most recognized as a series of circular shapes with a border surrounded by jagged "tail-like" objects. The program, aimed at the average viewer does a fine job of explaining the background of fractals, first by beginning with the story of Pixar co-founder, Loren Carpenter's work at Boeing, developing 3D terrain from scratch using fractals. From there the program starts at the beginning with an introduction to Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary work. The explanations are full of solid factual information but never talk above the level of a viewer who has some understanding of basic mathematical principles. Once the concept is presented the program spends the rest of the time showing how prevalent the fractal is in life. For a program about a mathematical concept, "Fractals" is very engaging, showing how the process was applied to special effects as far back as the Genesis planet from "Star Trek II" all the way to the spectacular finale on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III." I found myself astonished at how fractals were the source of the lava in constant motion and action during the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight. What is more amazing is when the program delves into practical applications such as cell phone antennas, and eventually the human body. For the average person who enjoys watching science related programs, even on a sporadic basis, "Fractals" will prove to be a very worthwhile experience. The program is well produced, integrating talking head interviews (including some with Mandelbrot himself) with standard "in the field" footage. The structure of the program is very logical and never finds itself jumping around without direction. In simplest terms, this is a program as elegant as the designs it focuses on.
An astonishing close encounter with some of the most exotic creatures inhabiting the hidden depths. In the realm of the giant octopus, the rainbow nudibranch (sea slug), and the Scorpion fish, viewers become a fearless undersea explorers, discovering the strange and unusual partnerships these 'star wars' creatures forge to ensure their survival, and learning how this cooperation allows life in this enchanting world to flourish. Filmmaker Howard Hall guides an astonishing adventure. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet narrate as Green Sea Turtles gather so Surgeonfish can strip harmful algae from their shells. A Humboldt Squid changes color four times per second like a flashing strobe light. A Mantis Shrimp’s claws have the speed of a bullet in battling a hungry octopus. Brace yourself to be submerged in a wondrous new dimension.
Filmmaker Daniel McNicoll explores the emerging movement to reclaim the ancient medieval and renaissance martial arts in this documentary narrated by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, and produced on corroboration with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. The Medieval and Renaissance blade was a remarkable weapon crafted with the utmost attention to detail. Though the history of the sword remains largely shrouded in mystery for younger moviegoers, their presence on the big screen can still be felt in the Star Wars saga, as well as films like Chronicles of Narnia and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Join host Davies as he traces the history of this remarkable weapon throughout the ages, in the process giving us a better understanding of the sword's unique role in both history, and films.
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