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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More about the human condition than mere buildings - stunningly good!
Expect the unexpected...

This has to be one the most inspiring and insightful programmes ever on the subject of architecture. Cruickshank has come up with nothing less than a masterpiece, unearthing some long-hidden and remarkable gems along the way. And all delivered with his trademark reverential and infectious enthusiasm.

Don't just watch it. Own...
Published on 1 May 2008 by Kent V. Austin

versus
105 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BBC DVD have ruined a classic series
I am a huge fan of Dan Cruikshank and loved watching this series on the TV. I jumped at the chance to buy it on dvd and rewatch it. What a disappointment. On the back of the dvd case a notice reads 'for contractual reasons certain edits have been made.' Usually this means that music has been redubbed or some short scenes have had to be snipped. In this case it means...
Published on 22 May 2008 by Mr. J. F. Tobin


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105 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BBC DVD have ruined a classic series, 22 May 2008
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge fan of Dan Cruikshank and loved watching this series on the TV. I jumped at the chance to buy it on dvd and rewatch it. What a disappointment. On the back of the dvd case a notice reads 'for contractual reasons certain edits have been made.' Usually this means that music has been redubbed or some short scenes have had to be snipped. In this case it means that up to 15 minutes have been cut from some episodes. Gone from the final episode is the segment on Pompeii and other episodes miss some of my favourite settings. Why have they done this? I think it may have something to do with the heavy use of John Williams' music throughout the series in the soundtrack. If this is the case then the soundtrack could be redubbed and the episodes left intact. I will think twice before buying any more dvds produced by 2entertain for the BBC. I haven't seen a hatchet job like this since the early days of VHS.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing footage, 4 Jun 2008
This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
Like Mr Tobin, I was disappointed to find that much of the original series footage is missing. Eight one-hour episodes have been condensed into about 400 minutes. The DVD case even shows a small photo taken inside the ossuary chamber in the Czech Republic, but the footage for this building has been omitted!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not much adventure or architecture!, 18 Mar 2010
By 
P. Malling (Worcester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very dull series compared to Around the World in 80 Treasures.

In this series Dan seems to know very little about what he is talking about - apart from stating the obvious - in an excited voice - using words like amazing or wonderful over and over again without telling us why it is amazing or wonderful.

The series does not cover the architecture of the buildings, nor does it tell us about the people who live in the diffrent places he visits.

In fact it is difficult to work out WHAT he is doing in this series.

I loved Around the World in 80 Treasures but stopped watching this series half way through.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Architecture doesn't get a look in, 23 Feb 2009
By 
M. Anderson (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
Having not seen this on TV or heard of Dan I bought the DVD because of my interest in architecture. A mistake! This has nothing to do with architecture. This is about Dan, breathless and wide-eyed visiting locations around the world that illustrate some theme - death, paradise, etc. We do not learn anything about buildings - in some cases there is no building at all at the loaction - but we do learn about rites and customs in a sort of National Geographic sort of way. Though to be fair the National Geographic bods know what they're talking about and Dan comes to this cultural odyssey with an amateur's enthusiasm and superficial knowledge and understanding. We gave up after three episode - wanting never to see Dan or his portentiousness again.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adventures in ancient religious monuments, mostly, 3 May 2008
This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
This series has been badly titled, to my mind. It is not so much "Adventures in Architecture" as "Mostly Visits to Historical Religious sites" with Dan Cruckshank. Dan dashes around the world, wearing his hat and scarf, saying `golly' a lot, generally being over-awed by some large, ancient religious buildings and shrines and occasionally acting a little bit brusquely, or awkwardly toward his hosts - generally through lots of bowing and saying "very good" to people speaking languages at him that he clearly has no understanding of.

Sometimes, Dan himself seems to completely forget what the series is called - easy to do given the content - and gets involved in a Hindu festival or visits an old Indian woman in her `dying chamber' in Varanesi. The thing is, Dan's an historian, not an architect, so you get a fair bit of history and not a lot of architectural comment. His love of the past is particularly evidenced in his visit to Dresden where he commends the faithful reconstruction of the historic centre destroyed by Allied bombing in WW2, replacing some `inappropriate' - to use his description - Modernist buildings which have emerged since the end of the war. A true engagement with architecture would be less automatically dismissive of Modern architecture when pitted against ancient monuments.

Another attack on Modernism comes when Dan visits Brasilia and witnesses the inequality there. There are a few comments how "most people don't like Modernism". I get the impression that Dan may be being a little anachronistic here, but that's not surprising, he's getting on himself in years, and he's an historian. I would have hoped Dan would have recognised that urban planning is a tough nut to crack, and even his beloved ancient sites are so loved and habituated because of the passage of 1,000s of years.

It is disappointing that the series did not give more time to secular architecture or non-monumental architecture - the world is full of fantastic vernacular architecture which, if Dan is unwilling to engage with the contemporary, he could have brought some of his insight into the background to everyday, folk architecture which can be just as engaging, or often more so - than a ruined temple or a remote Siberian church.

My final gripe is also relating to the title of each episodes - Beauty, Death, Paradise, Disaster, Connections - again, all very loose and nebulous and arguably frequently interchangeable given the content of each show. Its almost like the crew went around the world, filmed some interesting stuff, then had a brainstorm at the BBC afterwards to decide which footage should go into which episode and thereby fashion a series out of it, rather than consciously thinking up decent themes in advance and then actually going out and finding the most appropriate material for that episode. It could have benefitted from more coherence.

Against this, there are some wonderful visits to buildings you would never likely get to see inside, and the occasional non-religious visit -San Francisco with City Hall on Springs, the new bridge with its sacrificial steel `fuses". And the visit to the remote minaret in Afghanistan is something else! After a lot of monumental religious focus in the first three or four episodes, the series does seem to be evolving into a broader view of architecture for its final two episodes, so its worth sticking with. 7/10
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More about the human condition than mere buildings - stunningly good!, 1 May 2008
By 
Kent V. Austin (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
Expect the unexpected...

This has to be one the most inspiring and insightful programmes ever on the subject of architecture. Cruickshank has come up with nothing less than a masterpiece, unearthing some long-hidden and remarkable gems along the way. And all delivered with his trademark reverential and infectious enthusiasm.

Don't just watch it. Own it. Show it to your children. Celebrate the wonders of being human! Or, of course, you could watch Katie & Peter over on ITV3. I understand she's having a new boob job...
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First class eductional entertainment. Buildings can be brilliant, 5 April 2008
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
Dan Crucikshank is an engaging architectural historian who creates TV programmes which are informative, colourful and easy to watch. In previous series he has shown us Britain's Best Buildings and gone Around The World in 80 Treasures; this time he takes another globe-trotting journey to present a personal view of striking and important buildings; the ones which have influenced (or directly represent) aspects of human civilisation, endeavour and creativity.

As is the fashion for modern documentaries, the shows are edited together in the form of segments from different locations; beautiful picture-postcards which are enhanced by Dan's explanation of what we're looking at and why he thinks it is important. Each episode is based around a theme, be it beauty (definitely in the eye of the beholder), or death, or pleasure or paradise (that's 'paradise' as it's defined by a major religion). There are eight episodes which are intended to celebrate architecture as a creative force and give a portrait of humanity through building.
So we follow Dan around the world, starting with the simple igloo and including gilded Russian palaces, Mayan pyramids, Bavarian castles, oppressive cathedrals, chapels decorated with human bones, a giant Buddha in China, and so on.

This is another of the BBC's landmark series, and it is very well produced indeed. Cruickshank is a favourite presenter -- he's an expert in the subject so knows what he is talking about and yet doesn't allow his own story to dominate the flow. Cruickshank talks about the building, its architecture and what it means to him -- unlike some other presenters (Iain Stewart, I'm thinking of you!) he doesn't fill each segment with personal reminiscence. The subject of the film is clearly the building, not the presenter...
Yet having said that, it's extremely easy to like Dan and his cheery if breathless manner. He obviously adores what he's doing and gives an enthusiastic description of each building, even if he's just had to run up two thousands steps (no mean feat at his age) to stand eye to eye with a giant buddha, or cut his way through a tropical junble to stand next to an ancient temple.
Dan also kept the tedious 'we're all doomed' lecturing to a minimum, although it still creeps in now and then. To be honest, this is a flaw with almost all documentary productions these days. (The producers must surely realise that they're preaching to the coverted by now? Fans of BBC2 already know about climate change and the destruction wrought by modern man upon the natural world. We probably don't need it rammed down our throats in every programme!)

In previous years, this type of programme would have been subtitled 'a personal view' because many of the conclusions which Dan draws are controversial, and which may cause you to start yelping back at the TV. That's surely a good thing -- this type of programme is supposed to educate and to create debate, and it certainly does both. For instance, the idea that an imposing Catholic cathedral in France represents 'beauty' was something we couldn't agree with: it towered above the landscape, oppressing the countryside beneath it... but Dan is entitled to his (very expert) opinion!

The title of the series is a little misleading, too; there are some episodes which have precious little to do with the architecture of buildings. They're not about how buildings are constructed or designed, but instead concentrate on how buildings are used. In the 'Death' epiosde, for instance, Dan virtually abandons the architeture altogether and looks at the rites, customs and rituals surrounding death, burial and cremation. The architecture hardly gets a look in. There's a little bit more about the engineering and contruction of the temples, monasteries and mosques in the 'Paradise' episode, but it's very superficial -- Dan explains briefly how cantilever action keeps a monastery attached to the side of a sheer Chinese mountain, and how the domes of Istanbul's mosques help to amplify the chanting prayers, but there's litte about bricks and mortar and lots about human society.

There are also some moments in this series which are very explicit, because Dan doesn't shy away from the odd moment of sexual revelation (as seen on a Hindu temple). You might come face to face with a shot polar bear at any moment, too. If watching with younger children you might want to check each episode first: there's plenty of good educational material but it may need a judicious moment of fast-forwarding. The first episode would be horribly embarassing if viewed with your mother-in-law, too!

Overall, each episode is an hour to enjoy and watch again. You'll learn plenty and have a good time doing it. Then if you want to follow this kind of theme in more depth, try The Ascent of Man or Kenneth Clark's Civilisation (both from the days when the BBC did really grown-up programme making!)
9/10
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buildings for living and dying, 30 July 2008
This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
This is two DVD's of 400 minutes total,not 3 as in product description and is Dan in a different hat, literally than in Around the World in 80 Treasures, with much the same perpective, in fact there seems more architecture in the 80 treasures. Dan loves humanity although he does not like environmental destruction and pollution which of course are inevitable when billions of human beings start a bonfire from the Devil's own emissions, as he sees in Baku, or is this fire temple in the 80 treasures. The organisation of Adventures is thematic such as Beauty, Dreams, Death, Disaster. The DVD producers should identify the four locations in each episode to allow easier access as they did in 80 Treasures. The 1000 minutes should be required viewing for anyone over 35 at least once per year.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic series, 28 April 2008
By 
J. Cullen (various parts of the UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
One of the best programmes in a long while on the Beeb. Dan's enthusiasm is engaging, even if you think the subject sounds a bit dull. It's not about the sort of architecture that prince Charles waffles about, it's about places you never knew existed and want to visit.

It's tinged with sadness a lot of the time, for example the buddhist temple half way up a cliff where the chinese communists cleared the monks away and is now deserted, or the Minaret of Jam where an ancient city (possibly where Mohemmed's Summer Palace was) is being systematically looted for the illegal trade in ancient artifacts thus destroying irreplaceable archaeology

But on the whole it's a celebration of themes of humanity and how these are manifest in the beautiful buildings people have created.

I can rarely see the point in buying DVD's where the programme has ben on TV (and will no doubt be repeated) but I will buy this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture [DVD] (DVD)
Wonderful series
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