Reviewed byChristianVote: 9/10/10
In the same scope as Carl Sagan's Cosmos (1980), although not quite ascomprehensive, Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe (2011) along withWonders of the Solar System (2010) attempt to place humankind in thescale of the universe and explore some of physical science's moremeaningful discoveries. Cox actually gives homage to sciencevulgarization pioneer, Sagan, in Wonders of the Universe which I willreview here. Although Cox does not tackle subjects like time travel ina daring and direct way like Sagan, he is an eager, likable, scientistwho engages and teaches with appropriate awe and metaphors.
This time Cox is aided by breathtaking HD cinematography, coupled withthe technical prowess of eye-candy CGI and post-production, but thesoul-searching subject remains as the core of the text to leave us inadmiration, wonder and understandably a little perplexed. He explainsthe content and the context well and builds the viewer's knowledgealong the way.
The series as a whole is a success and perhaps bridges the 30-year gapsince Sagan's landmark 13-part series. Episode 1 "Destiny" defines timeand describes the beginning and the end of the universe in a near-complete and cathartic way. It explains entropy, puts our existence inperspective and sets the stage for further topics and questions of theseries. The second episode "Stardust" deals with chemistry from itsorigin to the complex carbon-based human beings that we are and thewondrously diverse world around us. It explains stellar evolution andthe births and deaths of stars. It shows how everything is connectedand creates a case for the continuous recycling of matter in theUniverse.
Episode 3 "Falling" examines gravity, but is the lesser of the series.It does not fall completely short, but is bogged down by twoexperiments (weightlessness - or so-called zero g - airplane and gforce accelerator) and less compelling screenplay and source material."Messengers" ends the series on a high note and looks at light as aproperty, but also as a code for the history and intricacies of theuniverse. It also relates space and time, the Big Bang and present dayquite harmoniously. It demystifies myths, shows infra-red, radio andmicro waves as extensions of the light spectrum smoothly, examines theimportance and apparition of eyes in evolution and leaves us with asense of unity with the universe and ongoing inquisitiveness into ournature.
All in all, the series succeeds in promoting science, awakeningcuriosity and giving deeper meaning to things we may take for granted.It is beautiful and thoughtful. It lacks perhaps some of the detailedobservations a more science savvy audience may expect, but it gives anaccessible solid foundation for one to build further knowledge andexplore on his own.
Wonders of Life (2013) will complete the "Wonders Of" series in a BBCco-production with China's CCTV. Also, Sagan's widow and co-writer willbe involved in a new Fox version of Cosmos called "Cosmos: A Space-TimeOdyssey" to be aired in 2014.
May science live long and prosper.
Reviewed byDebajyoti BoseVote: 9/10/10
Professor Brian Cox takes up the charge of exploring our planet andexplain the motions of the Universe and everything that it is made of,thus explaining gracefully with simulated and beautiful depictions ofour place in this planet and the Universe at large. One has to keep inmind, this is not a nerd show which will highlight all pro-levelscience talk. Men like Brian Cox, Neil Tyson are science communicatorand popularizer. The main purpose of this show is to bring young mindswho fear science in this wonderful fascination and itsjustifications,and to make them understand how profound are theimmutable laws of physics and other sciences, when it comes to thegrandest of stages i.e. life of the stars. The show did that quietsplendidly. So if solar system and galaxies have been your fascination,but you were always afraid of the big science formulas and terms, thisis your chance to get hold of them, and understand the beauty they haveand represent.
Reviewed byeosmusashiVote: 8/10/10
I loved this series, being a big fan of the Cosmos series my feeling isthat Brian Cox has the best of Sagan's ability to explain and transmitthe excitement and joy of astronomy and physics, he keeps itinteresting, exciting and simple to us all non-scholars of complicatedastrophysics.
I found very interesting that he made huge references to the Cosmosseries, he sure is a big fan of Sagan's work and he passes that with amore modern twist and the use of nice CGI.
Overall a great documentary and a nice addition to other Universerelated films, the locations filmed are amazing and Professor Cox's wayof talking is mesmerizing.
Professor Brian Cox visits some of the most dramatic parts of the globe to explain the fundamental principles that govern the laws of nature - light, gravity, energy, matter and time. With the world's most profound science at its heart, Wonders Of The Universe reveals how the story of humanity is intimately entwined with that of the complex story of the origins of the universe.