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92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 1999
If you are a Cold War history buff, or if you can still remember the days when you participated in those drop and cover bomb drills while going to school, then you must see "Trinity and Beyond" on DVD. Filmmaker Peter Kuran has meticulously weaved together previously classified government footage of the numerous atomic bomb tests which were conducted at the height of the Cold War. Many of these secret films were painstakingly restored to level fully compatable with the DVD format. The images of the bomb blasts exhibit a stark and shocking beauty as superheated gases and fallout expand into the atmosphere. Another unsettling segment shows a mannikin "Ozzie and Harriet" family in their home. They are completely decimated during a bomb test to determine the effects of nuclear warfare on the civilian population.
This documentary has a magnificent score performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and is perfectly in-sync with the awe, beauty and destructive power of the atomic bomb blasts. The DVD version boasts a wealth of extra features for even the most die-hard DVD connoiseur. These extras include a fully interactive menu, a photo slide show, a separate CD track of the orchestral score, and even a 3D segment of an atomic explosion with 3D glasses included. After viewing the 3D segment, you may feel like taking a de-con shower!
The narration by William Shatner is both informational and unbiased. Despite the interviews with Dr. Edward Teller (Father of the H-bomb) and others, "Trinity and Beyond" leaves it to the viewers to decide the ingenius foresight or the foolish arrogance of the scientists and soldiers who have harnessed the energy of the atom. This movie is also a powerful reminder of our past history. How ironic it would be to repeat this chapter again, especially in light of recent allegations that China has stolen America's most secret nuclear weapon designs.
"Trinity and Beyond" is not just another dry documentary. If you have invested a small fortune into your home theater system and DVD player, then rest assured. This DVD version of "Trinity and Beyond" will make your investment pay-off handsomely. Get this DVD now...and prepare to RUN, DUCK and COVER!
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2001
Forget hollywood special effects, This movie has the most powerful images that i've ever seen. I never realized the full extent of the horrific testing that was done by the U.S. and other nations. This really is a historical documentary of the development of nuclear weapons, so don't expect much scientific analysis or explanation. But it is a very well-made documentary with comprehensive footage of the various military nuclear projects, interviews with the nuclear scientists, historical newsreels, and of course tons of footage of A-Bombs and H-Bombs being detonated all over the place (in the upper atmosphere, underground, underwater, shot out of a canon, etc.) I really can't say enough about this interesting and visually striking movie. The images are enough to put anyone in awe and fear. The soundtrack is also great, and it accompanies the horrific images very nicely.
Also, this DVD has some other nice features. The best is the short 3D movie, which explores one specific Nevada test site. I really liked this feature, It has some really cool footage which is even more striking in 3D. The photo slide show was also cool. The unedited bomb explosion wasn't that great, but it was alright. The total presentation of the DVD is certainly very nice, and the movie itself is simply amazing. I would highly recommend this product. 5 STARS!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2004
"The Atomic Bomb Movie" is the most impressive, visually stunning and well-assembled film ever made on the history of the nuclear bomb and the various tests that followed after the end of World War 2. It is a documentary made with real passion for the subject, the information and visual records. This is obviously Peter Kuran's baby (listen to the commentary track where he speaks about the awakening of his interest in nuclear testing and the eventual production of this film with the awe and wonder of discovery), every aspect of his dedication to the project is evident in how much information he gives us, the detail in the assembly and most of all, in the painstaking restoration of old military footage documentating numerous tests. Visually this is one of the most incredible films you will ever see. One can only watch in astonishment at the size and destruction and yet beauty we find in the shots of tests ranging from Bikini island to even outer space. For many a lot of what the movie shows will be shockingly new (for me the biggest surprise was indeed the information about nuclear bombs being detonated in space). Kuran takes inside of the effects of a nuclear blast, so much as to show us exactly what an attack scenario would be like if you were inside your home and a bomb was dropped. And all this is done with incredible clarity, a lot of the old footage has been lovingly polished to a gloss and rarely do any images look old or scratchy. All this is framed with William Stromberg's rich, epic score that marches and pulses with great gusto. "The Atomic Bomb Movie" is that special kind of documentary that is perfect for classroom exhibition but also an awesome experience for normal home viewing. Kuran has done a service by assembling this film because it is important to preserve this information for future generations. In his commentary Kuran stresses the importance of not letting people forget about the history of nuclear testing, so it doesn't repeat itself. Do not miss this film, it is important and unforgettable.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2001
I would just like to start off by saying that this is BY FAR the best documentary I have ever seen and probably ever will see. I ordered the DVD (You should too!!) right after I saw it. One thing to matter how much of an A-bomb maniac you might be, no matter the dozens of documentaries you've seen, YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS FOOTAGE. One and only declassified images and videos from dozens of nuclear research and detonations. The score mixes seemlessly with the images to take your breath away at the sight of the huge, towering, yet beautiful behemoth of the mushroom cloud. Includes surface, underground, low atmospheric, undersea, and high altitude detonations, including the one that disrupted radio communications for 8 hours and damaged electrical circuits with it's Electromagnetic Pulse. This film is not too scientific for ANYONE!! Buy it, watch it, and memorize it, but for heavens sake, learn from it too!! Don't ever forget it!! But then again, you won't want to!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2006


A very direct and comprehensive look at the era of nuclear testing by the United States, including all its component parts.


This rather sobering documentary is organized in linear form. It begins, literally start at the beginning - "The Manhattan Project" [Einstein's letter to Roosevelt in 1938] and proceeds toward the end of this era - The First Real Treaty Banning Atmospheric Testing - by the United States and Soviet Union - 1963.


The film concentrates on the in-between, where 331 atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted by the United States. We see an expose of the progression and objectives of the tests, which sadly do include the effects of the atomic blasts on living things; pigs, sheep, rats. Not good for youngsters, but needed to give perspective to what is entailed in atomic testing on a wholesale basis.

There are frequent interviews with scientists, soldiers and newsreels too. Much of what is shown has only recently become declassified, and it is very simply though articulatly presented.


The conclusions are literally for us to decide [for a welcomed change] and this video will mean different things to different people, which is as it should be.


But - - - I don't have the DVD. The VHS however, is excellent, and perhaps something like this is better received and digested on a less-is-more basis. If that is your thinking, this video, which most public libraries seem to have will do quite nicely. If you are buying this, it seems that the DVD and the interesting features it has, including the 3D effects, would be interesting.


Shatner's restrained narration and the incredibly well organized presentation of classified material, interviews and newsreels is literally in a class by itself. There's alot here, so be prepared for a long viewing, even without the extra DVD features.


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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2000
It is quite hard to rate this documentary. On the one hand the footage is cleaned up so well and the sound quality so fantastic. On the other hand the narration leaves you with so many unanswered questions. The movie is so matter of fact yet the issues, in reality, go to the very core of every human life.
I enjoyed watching the stunning visual display but would have liked less music to get a more real, and life like, feel of what it is like to be near an atomic blast.
Some of the unanswered, and unasked, questions would be what is currently known of the effects of all those tests, under water, under ground, high in the stratosphere, and just above ground? What kinds of radiation was released and how long does it last and how can it effect life today?
I am giving this documentary three stars but I still suggest it. I suggest it along with some other documentaries to fill in the gaps that this one leaves. The Atomic Cafe is a good place to start. No one beats the technical skill of this documentary however.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 1999
This is a film which works on many levels. The degree to which the testers of nuclear weapons, French, English, Chinese, Soviet and American, flagrantly detonated their weapons into the biosphere is astounding and apalling. The damage that these tests have done to the planet are incalculable.
Yet, the restored footage reveals what a beatiful sight those detonations were. The immense power which was unleased by these weapons must have made their builders feel like gods. I am sure there was the arrogance of the gods present as well.
For me, apart from Bill Shatner's above average narration, the music is what pulls all the words and imagry together. Written especially for the film, it is as stunning a score as I have ever heard on film. Communicating awe, dread and majesty, the music counterpoints the film and narration in a unique, three-way ballet.
This should be required viewing for every high school student in North America. Remember: we still have the damn things.
Submitted by Colin Barnard, Toronto, CANADA.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2000
The footage will leave you stunned and jaw dropped. The music, ironically performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, is excellent. The film doesn't worry about getting into the technical nitty-gritty and so will be appealing to a wide audience, although hard-core nuke-geeks might get a little miffed. The movie clearly places its emphasis on visuals rather than a lot of narration, but the historical information and what little narration there is is both well timed and educational. One thing to watch for is the interviews with former scientists that worked on some of the nuclear projects. It's unsettling (although understandable given their task) that people should talk about such devices so flatly and unemotionally. This is a film that everyone should see because it puts the unimaginable power and horror of atomic weapons in clear perspective.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2010
This movie is truly informative and, at times, breathtaking. The destructive power of the nuclear bomb both fascinates and haunts us. Whenever I think of atomic weaponry, I like to recall one great quote by the late Richard Feynman (a Nobel Prize winning physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project when he was younger), who described his emotions after returning home from the Manhattan Project thusly:

"I returned to civilization shortly after that and went to Cornell to teach, and my first impression was a very strange one. I can't understand it any more, but I felt very strongly then. I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth... How far from here was 34th street?... All those buildings, all smashed -- and so on. And I would see people building a bridge, or they'd be making a new road, and I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless. But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead."

Let us hope that it will never be useless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2004
This is a very well produced movie. It includes footage of (1) bombs on Japan, (2) bomb tests, (3) preparation for and results of tests, (4) contemporaneous military public relations stuff, (5) interviews with atomic bomb scientists including Teller, (6) political stuff like treaties and complaints at the U.N., (7) technical information about the bombs. The bomb tests at Bikini on the armada of warships are very interesting. This movie is very informative, sometimes breathtaking and frightening. The sound track is great. This movie passes my most important test: I have watched it several times, and I will watch it many more times. It is well worth the price.
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