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DVD Reviews: The Future is Wild 5 Million years from now...


The Final Say!

Review Score
6/10
Extras
5/10
Reviewed by Adam Dumicich
Review Date: June 2004
Distributed by: Magna Pacific 

Running Time:
100 minutes

 

 

 

 

The Future is Wild is not your normal documentary series. Sure there have been other CGI aided documentaries, "The Ballad of Big Al" and "Walking with Dinosaurs" are two of mention, but this has something different, a topic which I have never seen tackled. The topic is what sort of animals will be around in 5 million years (I bet you didn't guess that, unless of course you read the title of the disc...), the other 2 in the series follow on to 100 million and 200 million years.

It's an interesting concept, mainly because it's completely up to the imagination of the writers and artists. The animals in this disc are unusual to look at, and for good reason. The earth is in an ice age, and the only animals that live are the ones who have managed to adapt. Looking back at animals of the past, there are some downright bizarre creature included. With this information and with some help from top scientists in the field artists have created a collection of animals that have adapted, and have found ways to live in the harsh climate of an ice age.

It's very hard to rate this documentary, simply because of the amount of guess work that is involved, sure it's been aided by a variety of scientists who specialise in the field, but it's still all guesses (as is stated in the disc I might add). Normally the content included, the accuracy and the knowledge learnt are the main things to look for. As you can see, that's impossible for the subject material.

What I will say is that I heck of a lot of work must have gone into this series. The first of the 3 (5 Million years) is the most limited by the relatively small time span that has passed. By the time 100 million years has passed the gates of evolution have been left wide open, to allow the creators almost an open slather for there creatures.

As far as the what is in the "5 million years from now..." disc, I must admit, it all seems logical. It's a bit far out at times, and sometimes unbelievable, but some of the creatures from the past are just as unbelievable, so it can't be discounted. I guess it all comes down to the guess work, just educated guess work. This is both the series biggest draw card, and biggest flaw. Many people will simply not believe that what they are seeing is going to be, and they are not necessarily wrong. It's a novel idea for a documentary, but an ultimately flawed one at that.

Video

Presented in 16x9 is not what you expect to hear in relation to a documentary. It is starting to change though, and The Future is Wild series is some of the material presented as such. Being mainly CGI it's hard to say there's a bad picture, because you simply can't tell what is or isn't intentional. Well, you can't tell with the animation at least. As far as artefacts go, and other picture concerns, that are unrelated to CGI, it's far easier to complain. Not that there's a lot to complain about, but there are problems.

The sharpness is down on what I would expect (this excludes the CGI, and is in reference to the non animated backgrounds), it's not terrible, but I've seen sharper images to be certain. Also a problem is the colours (again not relating to the CGI), they are just a little duller than they should be. As you can see the above are not major problems, but they are still apparent. Overall it's good quality though, and the CGI animals are just plain cool.

Audio

Standard documentary fare here, that's right, 2.0 channel stereo. Not that there's any cause to complain, you are not expecting to hear anything out of the rears, or the subwoofer. I guess it would be nice to mix it to use the centre channel, but it's just not worth the effort, and only quiets the nit pickers anyway (like me). The audio is perfectly audible as it is, even with some of the think accents that arise throughout.

Extras

A decent collection of extras are included with the disc, possibly the most useful of which is the background information pages. These not only tell you what each animal is likely to be like, how they live etc, but also includes bio's on the scientists who worked on the series. I consider this one of the most important because it helps to see the side they saw, as well as making the show a fair bit more realistic. I mean if it wasn't for the contributions of these scientists, the show would most likely be almost unwatchable. There's also some making of featurettes and 3D animation sections. The future is now featurette goes for 25 odd minutes and shows some sneak peaks of the next two in the series, which I guarantee if you enjoyed this you'll really be looking out for both of these. There's also a photo gallery with just under 20 images and a links page.

  • The Future is Now - Making Of

  • Making Of featurette

  • 3D Animation

  • Photo Gallery

  • Background Information

  • Links

 

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