Customer Review

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly this is mostly just a puff piece, 10 April 2007
This review is from: Hubble: 15 Years Of Discovery [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I was more than a little disappointed with this considering the fact that the Hubble telescope is one of humankind's most spectacular technological and scientific achievements. Instead of giving the viewer specific detail about what Hubble has achieved we get instead a kind of generalized, gee whiz hype about what a wonderful instrument it is. More--much more--information about how it was built and how it works and what its features are and what it has discovered and taught us could have been including in the narrative.

In fact, the narrative is dumbed down to an annoying degree. For example we are told that Hubble has discovered the most distant object ever seen, but we are not told how distant that object is. It's as though the narrative were written for people who just want to trip out on the images without being burdened with any specific knowledge.

Also annoying is the way the magnificent photos of the heavens are just displayed on the screen usually too quickly for any real contemplation and without detailed information about what is being shown or why it was photographed in the first place. ESA and NASA should have hired somebody knowledgeable to write an image-coordinated script for this that would inform and really entertain, and they should also have hired a professional to read the script, somebody with more enthusiasm and skill than Bob Fosbury displays. The images need to be explained so that we can understand what we are seeing. The clouds and nebulae, the points of light, the halos and the shapes are not self-explanatory. And when the images have been augmented or enhanced in some way, that needs to be explained as well. Some side by side contrasts between what is seen in the visual spectrum and, say, the infrared would be nice. Distances should be revealed.

There are two discs, one a DVD video, and another a CD audio which plays the soundtrack. There is a booklet full of statements like, "The planets of our Solar System have captured the imagination and interest of scientists and thinkers from the earliest times." Or, "Stars are social objects. They like to hang out together in star clusters or as large islands of stars..." This sort of empty expression or anthropomorphic nonsense is typical of what is heard on the video. It's as though the entire production was aimed at children. Actually what I think happened is the production was designed by a committee of ESA and NASA political types who just wanted to massage the public and were afraid that too many facts and numbers and ideas would simply turn them off.

It pains me to have to say this, because I love astronomy and cosmology, but shame on you ESA and NASA!
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3.6 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)
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