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Wonders of the Universe [DVD]

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Wonders of the Universe [DVD] + Wonders of the Solar System [DVD] + Wonders of Life [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Brian Cox
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 4 April 2011
  • Run Time: 235 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NRYWC8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,180 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Who are we? Why are we here? Where do we come from? These are among the most enduring and profound questions we can ask, and it is an essential part of human nature to want to find the answers.

We can trace our ancestry back hundreds of thousands of years to the dawn of humankind, but in reality our story extends much further back:
it starts with the beginning of the universe. Our universe began 13.7 billion years ago, and today it is filled with over 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars, and a breathtaking array of wonders.

In this groundbreaking new series Prof. B Cox tells the epic story of our universe and shows how its story is also our story.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

223 of 230 people found the following review helpful By Jason King on 21 Mar. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
This series, and Brian Cox's informal presentation style, always seem to divide opinion, and as I write this there are six other reviews on here, half of them favourable, the other half not.

However, it's telling that the unfavourable reviews are critical of a) the globe-trotting Cox does during the series or b) the level at which the programme's narrative is pitched. Both criticisms are misguided, as it's clear that Cox's intention is not to provide a GCSE curriculum programme, nor to preach to the converted (i.e. astronomers and physicists), but to convey something in particular to the layman.

The clue is in the series' title, and it is wonders - and the sense of wonder at the universe - that Cox is keen to impart. The use of different locations and landscapes as visual metaphors is one part of this approach to the subject matter, and provides the viewer's eye with something to latch on to during what are sometimes reasonably lengthy explanations of nuclear reactions or the life cycle of stars. He could, of course, have increased the amount of CGI on display (and would have got criticised for that too, no doubt), or used more static shots of star fields or diagrams.

But television is a visual medium and it deserves the chance to make the most of the advantages it can offer over books or radio, i.e. supplying visual stimuli. To play to a medium's strength in this way is not showy, nor shallow. It is a direct consequence of choosing to use the medium of television in the first place. The programme chooses to take us to interesting locations because it is attempting to invoke a sense of wonder. And that's easier to do in exotic places than it is in an Open University style studio with a white board in the background.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Derek Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Mar. 2011
Format: DVD
The minority who did not like "Wonders of the Solar System" will not like "Wonders of the Universe", but the many more who did like it will enjoy this one too. It has been claimed that it has little serious science. This is true. For example, compare what was said about the arrow of time and entropy with the Wikipedia page on the subject, which contains much more information. However, this misses the point. Professor Cox has rightly described the series as a "cinematic experience". It combines state-of-the-art CGI, wonderful astronomical photos, soaring music, exotic locations, fancy camerawork, and the infectious enthusiasm of Cox himself. As for the science, there may not be much depth but the topics covered are very well done and explained with crystal clarity. Everybody watching these DVDs, whether a child or a pensioner, will complete their viewing with some understanding of topics ranging from the life and death of the universe and the formation of the elements, to gravity and light. Just as important it is likely to have inspired enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. For that we must thank Brian Cox. The impact he has made with both "Wonders" series can be gauged by the fact he is being called by many "the David Attenborough of astrophysics". High praise indeed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I noticed that Amazon have lumped the reviews of all the editions of this documentary together, so you can't really tell the difference between the standard DVD release, the two disc Blu-ray edition or this. So, as the title states, this is specifically a review of the single disc Blu-ray release.

As the technical details at the top state, the single disc contains all four episodes , so total length is just short of four hours. The audio is English Stereo Dolby Digital and the video format is 1080i/16:9. It is not 24P or anything like that. There are subtitles in English, for the hard of hearing. That's it. So it is pretty much standard BBC Blu-ray format; say, the same as Ancient Worlds (Blu-ray) (although, with six episodes, that came on two discs).

The quality is good. It is very good. Many of the scenes are, even after multiple viewings, stunning. But really, it is no better than watching the series broadcast on one of the BBC's High Definition channels. And, again like Richard Miles' 'Ancient Worlds', there are no extras, no 'making of' mini-docs so often seen at the end of BBC natural history programmes.

I'm still happy to have it. This is a documentary series that I have watched half a dozen times already and I am quite sure I will watch it many, many more times. The photography and photographic effects such as the moody vignetting are, as I have already said, brilliant. Brian Cox's presentation is infectiously enthusiastic, the computer generated images really imaginative and quite stunning and the accompanying music very effective.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jey Heich on 10 Sept. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Brian Cox is a good storyteller. He is excellent at communicating a complex subject in simple terms with very nice analogies. I particularly liked the episode named Destiny. The concept of entropy is explained nicely and the episode feels quite dramatic and terrifying, even though the time scale is so vast that at the human scale, it is like it will never happen.
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