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Unlocking the Great Pyramid (2008)

 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Unlocking the Great Pyramid + The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: January 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,759 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When ancient architects completed construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza, they left behind the greatest riddle of the engineering world how did builders lift limestone blocks weighing an average of two and a half tons, 480 feet up onto the top of the pyramid? For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Great Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the pyramid. Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin has devoted his life to solving this mystery by creating incredibly accurate blueprints of the Great Pyramid, using cutting-edge 3-D software. Unlocking the Great Pyramid follows Houdin and renowned Egyptologist Bob Brier in Giza as they put Houdins theory to the test.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pyramid enthusiasts- a must February 15, 2009
Dr Brier is the the book first but the footage brings out new information and is not only plausible but truely revolutionary.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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I was thoroughly fascinated and intrigued by this latest theory about the construction of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. I have always thought that the ancient Egyptians were a very practical and clever people who accomplished so much with the simplest of tools, devices and methods.

There are actually three theories that are proposed: (1) the massive blocks were raised to the upper levels of the pyramid using an INTERNAL ramp (how simple, how clever!); (2) the Grand Gallery served as a conduit for the raising of the massive roof beams and supports for the King's Chamber- it seems so obvious now but it took the eyes of an Architect to reverse engineer all of the evidence and come up with a plausible theory; and (3) finally, it was proven that the King's Chamber ceiling beams actually cracked slightly while the pyramid was still under construction- again careful observation, measurement and the Architect's eye make this conclusion highly plausible.

And all of what could be a very dry accounting is done with in a thoroughly absorbing and entertaining way, in no small part due to the narration of Bob Brier, one of my favorite Egyptologists on screen.

I have been fortunate enough to explore the Great Pyramid with an Egyptologist friend of mine thanks to the generosity of Dr Zahi Hawass (even when it was closed to the general public), and this documentary brought back so many vivid memories. I think that it would be even more intriguing to those who have not actually been there: if this documentary doesn't inspire them all the more, nothing will.

I highly recommend this film to all, Egypt buff or not. There were even two new things that I learned about the Great Pyramid but I will not give them away here. Suffice to say that this DVD is worth purchasing because you will want to view it over and over again; I certainly did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars National Geographic Updates Us on Their Research May 13, 2012
This is only 50 minutes long, and left some big questions unanswered. But it was still interesting.

Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin, working with what information he could gather and a sophisticated computer program, developed three significant elements of a theory as to how the Great Pyramid was built. Before he published his theory, the mystery of how those huge blocks of stone could be raised all the way to the top of the pyramid was pretty much complete. There were a few suggestions, but there were pretty convincing arguments against each one.

Some argued that a huge external ramp was built first, but in order to keep it at the maximum workable 7 degree slope, it would have had to have been a mile long. Not only is there absolutely no evidence of such a ramp, but the building of the ramp would have been a project as massive as the pyramid itself. That it would be built and then taken away so completely that no evidence remained is too much to swallow. Using levers and pulleys simply cannot be substantiated; problems about where the bases of the levers would sit, how these huge machines would be moved to the next position needed, and how they could work fast enough are all unexplained. And a ramp outside the pyramid would have obstructed the view of the pyramid itself, making it impossible to keep it straight and true where line-of-sight measurements needed to be taken.

Houdin's theory is that there were ramps built inside the pyramid, much like the ones visible in nearby tombs. Why have such ramps not been found? They may yet be found, but there is also the possibility that they were filled in after the structure was otherwise complete.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, very interesting ! December 8, 2012
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This is the best documentary I have seen on the Great Pyramid, with 3d computer models, many different theories on how it was built and great camera footage of the inside and outside.
Watching this gave me the sense of actually being there and how big it is. There is a part of the program, where the host climbs way up the side and it gives you an idea of how tall it is and how dangerous it must have been to build it. I never knew how big the blocks were that made up the pyramid....unreal ! This is a great dvd for anyone interested in the pyramids and how they were built.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unlocking the Great Pyramid DVD January 18, 2014
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I have given this DVD five stars because it is the best version of Jean Pierre Houdin's theories on film. It's clear, interesting and inspirational. Bob Brier, as always, is an excellent presenter.
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