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Flatland: The Movie
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Flatland: The Movie is an exciting half-hour animated film based on Edwin Abbott's classic novel. Flatland is an entirely two-dimensional world where different shapes live, work, and play--all under the rule of the evil Circles who are determined to keep the third dimension a secret, at any cost. The story follows Arthur Square (Martin Sheen) and his curious granddaughter Hex (Kristen Bell). When the mysterious visitor Spherius (Michael York) arrives from Spaceland, Arthur and Hex face grave danger as they begin to come to terms with the truth of the third dimension. Combining action, drama, geometry, and sociopolitical commentary, this moving story challenges audiences to grasp the limitations of their assumptions about reality and to think about the possibility of higher and previously inconceivable dimensions (both literal and metaphorical).
- 4-D short feature: Brown University mathematician Thomas Banchoff discusses Flatland and the fourth dimension
- Interviews with cast members Martin Sheen, Kristen Bell, Michael York, Tony Hale, and Joe Estevez
- English and Spanish subtitles
- Full text of the novel that inspired the movie
Winner of the 2008 Berlin Special Jury Award, MathFilm Festival
"The animation of Flatland stays close to the original in spirit, reinterpreting the tale for today's audiences. . . . I can imagine young people being intrigued by the ideas. . . . The main objective is to have fun playing around with the dimensional analogy, and I'd say the animation does that very well indeed."--Ian Stewart, Notices of the American Mathematical Society
Top Customer Reviews
The source material for both is the 1884 novella by Edwin A. Abbott, but the approaches of the two films differ radically. The book is a staple of science fiction, and one of the few to address mathematical issues at its core. Being a product of its time, the book is technically naive, and politically incorrect based on current sensibilities.
The Travis film is visually slicker, but significantly shorter, and tackles philosophical issues relative to the passage of time from initial publication. As such, it tampers with the plot to mixed effect. Unlike some others, I have no problem with some of the revisions to the underlying plot since they do help bring some of the book's major issues into somewhat sharper focus. On the other hand, they also add a "feel good" and politically correct sensibility that seems out of place.
The Ehlinger film is much truer to its source material, which is both a strength and a weakness. Given a current perspective, its 19th century depiction of the political and social subjugation of women is a distraction that the Travis film avoids. It's also a longer film and could have been more effective with some of the same plot and editing license employed in the Travis film. Where it does tamper with the plot, some of the decisions are questionable as other reviewers have pointed out.
So which is better? In my opinion, the short answer is the Ehlinger film.Read more ›
From Euclid forward, mathematicians have kind of served as reality's accountants alterting us to mathematical truths and their impact on the lives we live.
That's why when a lifelong mathematician like Edwin Abbott Abbott takes the time to sit down and write book in parable form about a basic mathematical truth...well...it's probably worth our time to sit down and read it.
In Abbott's 1884 classic masterpiece Flatlands, Abbott told the story of A Square...a resident of Flatland who comes to discover the existence of the third dimension. For those who haven't yet read the book, I would recommend Ian Stewart's brilliant Flatland Annotated in which Stewart (himself a lifelong mathematician) verbatim goes through Abbott's book annotating it along the way with helpful explanatory tidbits and information. In some cases, Stewart's annotations explain Abbott's points in terms of the basic mathematics or history. In other cases, Stewart provides information about the development of mathematical theory since Flatlands was written.
In one line of developments, for example, Euclid's fifth postulate is overturned and in another the idea that any one mathematical system can find all mathematical truth is iself overturned...both significant findings. For more on these developments or other interesting math issues, you can turn to Stewart's follow up Flatterland, the Dover publications treatment on Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes or even the highly readable Choas, Coincidence and All that Math Jazz.
But for those not interested in reading but simple and quick exposition on the issues raised by Flatland, I would suggest this movie.Read more ›
When I began teaching, the only popular movie about math was Donald in Mathmagic Land, a Disney film from 1959 featuring Donald Duck. As enduring as that movie has been, I can say from experience it doesn't connect as well with modern students.
Flatland: The Movie doesn't have that problem.
There are a few notable differences from the book, which should be expected when trying to condense all the original material into a half-hour production aimed at children. Women are no longer the lesser of the sexes (they are polygons just like the men; one woman even serves as a boss), and the main character, now named Arthur Square, is given a granddaughter (appropriately named "Hex").
The differences here, though, don't hurt the movie. If anything, students who enjoyed the movie were enthusiastic about reading the book.
This should be required viewing for any twenty-first century math teacher.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I use this movie in my high school geometry class. I love it and so do my students! It helps with visualizing the difference between 2 and 3 dimensions.Published 1 month ago by websterc
I accidentally ordered the shorter of the two versions, but enjoyed it!! I may now checkout the longer! It arrived on time, in excellent condition, and is quite brilliant.Published 4 months ago by Impressed
Great! Perfect for when you are about to start a unit on volume and 3 dimensional figures.Published 10 months ago by Greg Shaver
This movie is very entertaining and thought-provoking. I let my geometry class watch the extras on the DVD, and it led to many interesting discussions. Read morePublished 11 months ago by LP
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Movie or book???????||
There IS a DVD version (which you can also purchase securely at www.flatlandthemovie.com) but in early 2008 Princeton Press will release a new hardback edition of the book with artwork from the movie and the screenplay. Somehow the details of both products got mangled... hopefully temporarily.
Nov 16, 2007 by Dano | See all 2 posts
|Is there a french text ? How many minutes ?||Be the first to reply|