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The Brain (2008)

Richard Vagg  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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The Brain + NOVA: Secrets of the Mind + Nova Science Now: How Does the Brain Work
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Product Details

  • Directors: Richard Vagg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • 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: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001J863EO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,795 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Brain" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

THE BRAIN is an astonishing voyage of discovery into our last biological frontier. Although today s computers can make calculations in one-100th of a second and technology can transport us outside the bonds of Earth, only now are we beginning to understand the most complex machine in the universe.

Using simple analogies, real-life case studies, and state-of-the-art CGI, this special shows how the brain works, explains the frequent battle between instinct and reason, and unravels the mysteries of memory and decision-making. It takes us inside the mind of a soldier under fire to see how decisions are made in extreme situations, examines how an autistic person like Rain Man develops remarkable skills, and takes on the age-old question of what makes one person good and another evil.

Research is rushing forward. We've learned more about the workings of the brain in the last five years than in the previous one hundred. This DVD from HISTORYTM brings it all to spellbinding life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I liked the way the video is divided into several stories that explain what part of the brain is involved with different feelings like fear, pleasure, psychotic behavior, memory, decision-making, etc. Also describes what happens when important parts of the brain are missing. Explains how the brain has evolved over the years. It uses state-of-the art CGI to determine the activity of the brain and this is fascinating. This is particularly descriptive when it comes to sex and I think the video is only appropriate for mature audiences.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a "brain" to understand the brain!! November 26, 2009

"The human brain, one of the last great frontiers...We've learned more about it in the last 5 years than in the last 5,000 years...For the first time, we're actually seeing what's going on in the brain during sex...What makes some brains evil?...And is there really such a thing as ESP [ExtraSensory Perception]?...Technology is finally unlocking the secrets of the brain. It's explaining why we behave the way we do. It's helping experts develop new methods and machines to boost our brain power. And its revealing the untapped abilities that we all have inside our heads."

The above is what the narrator states in the introduction of this interesting documentary that uses simple analogies, real-life case studies, and state-of-the-art computer generated images.

This program is not about explaining detailed anatomy of the brain. Instead it features experts in brain studies (interweaved with narration) explaining a brain-related topic (like those given above: sex, evil, ESP) and brain function while fantastic animations provide an additional look of what's going on in the brain (learned through brain-imaging techniques) at a specific time.

Eleven brain-related topics are discussed. Eight of the topics last between eight and eleven minutes while three of the topics last between four and six minutes.

The last topic is particularly interesting. Discussed is the future of the brain and how technology may interface with the brain to enhance its abilities for all of us.

I was amazed at the scope of what this documentary covers. However, each topic is given brief treatment (as can be inferred from the above times). It feels that we are given a sample of each topic.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed April 7, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie gives a vague description of what the mind can do and how it works. Following a story lines based on military tactics, sexual attractions and why some people like to kill and have no remorse. Their are some good theories, but how they translate the information is for the unintelligent, sorry I give this film two thumbs down. It seems to me that the History Channel dumbs down a lot of their documentaries for the dumb people who write in and complain how they can't grasp the information.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not what I was looking for May 4, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD was interesting but I expected something a little more focused on the workings of the brain. The topics covered are case studies of abnormal brain activity.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for classroom use January 28, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this hoping to use it in teaching psychology, but no luck. The scenes about sex would be too embarrassing, and the dvd tries to make a case that ESP is real. The History Channel should stick to history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars understanding people November 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Important to watch. Informative for the masses. Wish this info was available years ago. Just maybe there would be less hatred. Great for dealing with co-workers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Oversimplified, but Interesting May 11, 2012
This was done by the History Channel, which has a tendency to over-simplify a bit. But it is quite recent, and concentrates on the cutting edge research into the way the brain is structured and how it functions. There are some fascinating bits, such as research into psychopaths and serial killers, memory, the mental control of Navy Seals and professional athletes, and a variety of curious areas of research.

The credibility of the entire show was compromised somewhat by spending some time on so-called psychic research, although they make it clear that this is on the outer edges of research. The one glaring omission was any mention of noted skeptic Randi's standing million dollar challenge to demonstrate psychic ability under controlled circumstances.

Still, it was quite informative, and made good use of a color-coded graphic model of the brain that helped a lot in understanding the research described. In fact, I'd say the graphics might be the best part. In any case, it was quite thought-provoking, which is what a documentary is all about.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brain August 12, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Apparently brain research has made tremendous strides in the last few years.

The story begins with pointing out the various parts of our brain, starting with the reptilian brain stem to the front lobes of the cortex and assigning a function to each ofthe parts.

Watching the training of the US marine seals, it shows what we can do to suppress or overcome panic and what parts of the brain are involved.

As is shown with psychopaths there is a link between our psychological treats and our brain function.

Also discussed is autism and the brain of an artistic savant and the remarkable story of a former musician whose brain was damaged by illness and had lost virtually all of his short term memory but was still an accomplished piano player

It also touches on extra sensual perception and gut feeling.

We are also informed of what the future may hold as far as brain research is concerned.

To conclude, it is a very informative story, very well done and which I can highly recommend.

Douwe Visser, New Zealand
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars TB
I bought this hoping I would learn something new.

I should have known this would be shallow and pointless given the target audience and mentality of the history... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Triggah
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the majority of the video.
I found the exploded 3D model of brain helpful in visualizing where the different parts involved in a response were located. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent book
Published 2 months ago by Manouchehri
5.0 out of 5 stars I truly enjoy this. It taught me a lot about myself
I truly enjoy this. It taught me a lot about myself.
Published 3 months ago by J. Carmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Video
This video is what I need in order to supplement resources for my psychology classroom, Very good illustrations for a very touch subject.
Published 12 months ago by Sharon Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain DVD
Very interesting information but would have liked it even more if it went into greater depth. We were disappointed when it ended.
Published 14 months ago by R. Green
3.0 out of 5 stars Your typical TV program
Don't get me wrong, this is still a good program, but it has that typical Hystory Channel look and feel to it.
Published 18 months ago by mitsuohara
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brain for classroom
An excellent tool to help students understand the interaction of the brain with behavior. My students enjoy the DVD and found the sections on "rush" and sociopathic behaviors... Read more
Published 18 months ago by psych prof
4.0 out of 5 stars The Brain
I enjoyed the parts I could understand. Due to having a traumatic brain injury, I have to watch it a couple more times to
get the full benefit of it. Very informative.
Published 19 months ago by D. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars classroom
I use this DVD in my psychology classroom - it is perfect. It allows the students to actually observe and experience the concepts I am teaching them. Read more
Published 21 months ago by L. .G. avid reader
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