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National Geographic - Beyond the Movie - Alexander

Helen Fitzwilliam  |  NR |  DVD
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Helen Fitzwilliam
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Nat'l Geographic Vid
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002V7U2I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,214 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

More than 2,000 years after he conquered the known world, Alexander the Great continues to fascinate. But what personal demons fueled Alexander's unquenchable thirst for danger, fame, and conquest? Discover the astonishing truth in Beyond the Movie: Alexa

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anglo-Saxon Buffs, This is the DVD for you! June 4, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
If you're a fan of Tolkien's works, I mean a fan of the works beyond the movie and beyond the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then you might be interested in watching this DVD. If you're looking for a behind-the-scenes dvd about the blockbuster movies by Peter Jackson, then you might want to turn off this DVD after the first ten minutes and pick up a Fellowship of the Rings boxed set.
This documentary fulfills its claim of going beyond the movie. It certainly does! This dvd goes beyond even the works of Tolkien and centers around the author's life and influences. If you're interested in languages and history, you might find sections of the DVD fascinating as National Geographics takes us to places like Finland and spends what seemed to me to be ages talking to people about language and myths.
I'm not really a linguist, nor am I a historian interested in Norse mythology, but I am quite intersted in Tolkien and the things that influenced his works. For these reasons, I found this DVD to be filled with a wealth of information that goes beyond the shallow tv-style approach to movie backgrounds. This DVD explores several possible influences on the Lord of the Rings trilogy ranging from foxholes in World War II to epic poems such as Beowulf. It was very interesting to see how historians and archeologists can shed light on modern fantasy novels and can influence our interpretations of the events within them.
I do have a few detractions for this DVD. It is true that when I purchased it, I expected more of a behind-the-scenes look at the films by Peter Jackson, and I think the cover and description is somewhat misleading in this way. I was surprised, and not unpleasantly, by the content, but some of the sections discussing language seemed to drag on for a while and leave the audience behind.
If you're a Tolkien addict, check out this DVD. If you're a Peter Jackson the boxed set of FoTR.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Alexander June 25, 2005
First I'd like to reply to the previous reviewer: The quote simply means that Alexander was complex--from what we know of him, he encompassed all these things, but a *lot* of what we know about him is built-up myth, hence "and perhaps none." It's an obvious statement, but it's a good segue for people who don't know about Alexander.

Secondly, yes, this film reeks of "cheesy" historical documentary, but it's entertaining and informative. The intent was to give people a "true" (from what we know) history behind the Hollywood-driven movie (which flopped anyway--I'll be interested to see Baz Luhrman's movie if he's still going to do it), and it did that. It explores psychological motives, military strategy, and even major characters influenced by Alexander as late as George Patton. There's also a decent short on the influence of the Iliad on Alexander. That one's not quite as interesting, in that it's basically an overview of the Iliad. It's also clear that they were targeting the movie-going audience by referring to "Troy" rather than Homer's Iliad.

All in all, I enjoyed this video. Alexander comes through in all his complexity here, and this is only a tiny scratch in the scholarship on him.

Those interested in Robin Lane Fox's work might want to take a look, as he is interviewed in this video. Other scholars interviewed are: Paul Cartledge, John Maxwell O'Brien, Joseph Scholten, Colonel Lance Betros, David Byers Millers, Partha Bose, and Andrew Chugg.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great behind the scenes look at FOTR February 15, 2002
By John
I popped this DVD in last night and was surprised. I guess I shouldn't be, with National Geographic producing this. The DVD does a great job of exploring the events that influenced JRR Tolkien, including Industrialization and World War I .
I was also surprised with the footage and interviews. These are not interviews of some random Tolkien "experts", but with his best friend, war buddy, and also the man Peter Jackson himself. The rest of cast speaks also, some in full costume on the set. There is tons of footage from the movie. This adds a lot to the DVD.
There is also an in-depth study of the origins of the Elfish Language. Very nice. My favorite part of the DVD was seeing how the filmmakers modeled Hobbiton after the childhood village of Tolkien. The bridge is exactly the same! Cool stuff. The houses look just like the village of Bree.
Overall, this DVD is a worthy effort. It gives an in-depth look at the origin of the novels and also the movie.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeing the Big picture June 22, 2003
By A Customer
All of these reviews seem to be deeply offended that master Tolkien was made out to be an environmentally minded individual. National Geographic explores his outside influences that shaped his storytelling and yes, his love for the enviorenment and witnessing evils of mass deforestation during the early twentieth century crept into his epic 'Lord of the Rings'. The entire Ents plotline and Saruman destroying the foerst under the wheels and iron of the Orcs was a huge part of the philosophical side of the story. IT can also be found in the haven of the Shire and the horror the hobbits find at the end when Bilbo's party tree is leveled by the occupying Orcs. The Elves themselves grow so disenchanted with the ensuing progress enroaching on their woodland homes that they depart from the Grey Havens never to return. I mean really, you would have to be completely ignorant to ignore the fact that Tolkien was an environmentatlist at heart, and that doesn't make him or anyone else with that belief a "freak" or a "loopy tree-hugger".
I'm sure that Tolkien would've been heartbroken at the excessive crimes against nature inflicted by corporate powers and other "descedants of Orcs".
This is a pretty interesting piece that takes you to the root of Tolkien's influences in the early twentieth century from the industrialization of the world and horrors of two World Wars. It's for those who try to see "the big picture" and not for those who only wish to see special effects, and sword fights. Don't get me wrong those are fun too, but to wallow in ignorance is something Mr. Tolkien was never one to partake in.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh . . .
This didnt do much for me. I really didnt like Pearl Harbor anyways. As a history teacher, I found so many historical inaccuracies, I simply couldnt get into it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christopher P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love NG they never disappoint
Published 1 month ago by Dawn Trumbull9999
4.0 out of 5 stars 100% worth it!
Just buy it, its worth the money, its very entertaining and worth adding to your LOTR collection.

They only made these for Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jeffrey Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good.
The National Geographic has always been great with performance of documentary. This disc shows them at the flux of the New Tolkien look, (according the the 2001 Lord of the Rings... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Line'r
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent dvd
i own this dvd but this order was for a friend who is just starting to become a tolkien fan, i got it for him so he can learn how tolkien made the fascinating tale that is LOTR. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tom Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This is the best special feature from the Lord of the Rings special features. The scenery is fantastic. The DVD was in good shape when it arrived and was what we ordered. Enjoy!
Published 14 months ago by Dakota
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary
A little too wordy, and not enough time with the actors or any anecdotes from the time they were filming.
Published 18 months ago by bookandcdfreek
5.0 out of 5 stars Very eye opening
I bought this for my friend for her birthday and she absolutely loved it. It has all the behind the scenes information a person could want.
Published 20 months ago by Jennifer Rhodes
1.0 out of 5 stars A few interesting points, but too political
While comparisons between the Shire and Tolkien's boyhood home were among many interesting points, National Geographic uses this movie as a soapbox for their own issues. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dave Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating new info for fans interested in historical influences
Tolkien was a scholar first and foremost. People interested in the history and culture that influenced Tolkien will enjoy this film. Read more
Published on October 4, 2012 by SuzieQccr
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