While watching The Planets
, be prepared to fight your way past all kinds of computer animation which makes Walking with Dinosaurs
seem like the last word in realism. It seems that no solar or planetary event which ever happened (or which may or may not have happened) is worthy of mention here without recourse to lovingly detailed shots of implausible-looking collisions and explosions. These come complete with sound effects, despite the fact that there is no sound in the vacuum of space, and are enhanced by a range of colours, some of which are visible only to bees. Somehow Patrick Moore's The Sky at Night
manages to convey just as much excitement with little more than a couple of diagrams and the presenter's hyperactive enthusiasm.
Fortunately, this two-DVD set is redeemed by both its subject matter and its sheer scope, offering all eight 50-minute episodes of the 1999 documentary series covering the history of the solar system and humanity's age-old desire to learn its secrets. Detailed indexing and scene access makes this a convenient reference source too, so amateur astronomers everywhere can finally bin those off-air VHS copies. --Roger Thomas
Employing state-of-the-art computer graphics, unseen space race archive and testimony from leading scientists, The Planets
is the most comprehensive and spectacular account of space exploration and discovery ever made. This double DVD contains all eight 50-minute episodes. Different Worlds:
A look at space travel and the latest planetary explorations. Terra Firma:
The story of the pioneering missions to our neighbouring worlds. Giants:
Uncovers the secrets surrounding the massive planets in our Solar System. Moon:
The answer to one of the greatest mysteries of the Solar System - why does Earth have a moon? Star:
The latest scientific advances bring us a new perspective on the Sun. Atmosphere:
A fantastic voyage through the skies of the Solar System. Life:
A look at the very latest robotic explorations of other planets. Destiny:
How are the planets going to evolve over the next four billion years?