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Alien Planet

4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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(Aug 16, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The dynamic meeting of solid science and futuristic simulation culminates in a dramatic exploration to another inhabited planet seven light years away. Alien Planet creates a realistic depiction of creatures on another world, where life is possible, if not provable, according to scientists' theories. Take this fascinating journey created by state-of-the-art animation and photo-realistic affects, leading NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory experts and, of course, imagination.

"A spacecraft from another solar system invades the night sky. But this is not our sky, and we are the invaders. The search for alien life has begun." So begins Alien Planet, a Discovery Channel production that combines cutting-edge computer animation and video technology, interspersed with interviews of top scientists and filmmakers (Stephen Hawking and George Lucas, among others), to examine what life might really be like on another planet. Darwin IV, the subject of this interstellar journey, is home to a wild variety of dinosaur-like creatures, bizarre beasts, and exotic vegetation of every kind. The idea is human beings have sent an unmanned spacecraft, packed with computer-driven droids--something right out of Star Wars--to a planet 6.5 light years away. We follow along as the probes explore the planet and encounter aliens and situations of every kind, as the scientists weigh in on what they think we might really find there, and why. It’s all motivated and informed by real missions being undertaken today. While it’s all speculative, the story itself is still fascinating and events unfold according to the laws of physics, just as they would here on earth. The viewer experiences Darwin IV through the eyes of the probes; the spectacular computer animation offers stunning recreations of their explorations, and the creatures the writers have come up with are highly imaginative. The scientists’ insights add to the experience by explaining the thinking behind the moments in the story, and by being appropriately relatable (one contributor compares sending the unmanned probes to the planet to watching your child at a spelling bee, hoping they make the right choice). While it’s obvious that Alien Planet is a great show for students and educators, its appeal is far wider,this is a highly entertaining program that should feed the imagination of anyone who’s ever wondered about life on other planets.

--Daniel Vancini

Special Features

  • Mastered in high definition
  • Extended interviews from Stephen Hawking and Jack Horner

Product Details

  • Actors: Wayne D. Barlowe, Curtis Clark, James Garvin, Jamie Hanes, Stephen Hawking
  • Directors: Pierre de Lespinois
  • Writers: Peter Crabbe, Steve Eder
  • Producers: Pierre de Lespinois, Frances LoCascio, James R. Cowan, John Copeland, Tomi Landis
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009VRHLA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alien Planet" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Hylton on June 23, 2005
Format: DVD
Imagine a world like our own, just 6.5 light years away - but teeming with life forms unlike anything found on Earth.

Take a simulated journey into the near future, where astronomers and biologists alike marvel at the potential of Darwin IV, a nearby planet with two suns, 60% gravity and an atmosphere capable of supporting life. Having identified Darwin as a likely home for life, scientists send a series of unmanned probes to the planet. Initially, the expectation is to find microscopic life. But the probes soon find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem, teeming with diverse creatures of all sizes.

Peering through the "eyes" of the probes, marvel at the planet's bizarre inhabitants - like the lumbering Groveback, which supports a mini forest of vegetation on its back; deadly Prongheads who hunt in packs like wolves; and the graceful Gyrosprinter, an elk-like creature with a body dotted by luminescent biolights. The look and biology of each animal is based on the laws of evolution and physics, then modeled to fit the hypothetical environment of Darwin IV. Leading minds in the fields of paleontology, astrophysics and astrobiology explain how these creatures might evolve otherworldy characteristics like hollow bodies, "jet" propulsion and piercing tongue skewers.

One of the best shows I have ever seen. The attention to detail both in the environment and in the creatures is amazing. As both a scientist and a computer artist I can find no fault with any portion of this production other then it comes to an end and leaves my wanting more. The fact that there can possibly be life on another planet and we will soon have the technology to observe that is mindblowing. It has really gotten me interested in space and the creation of life. I thought it was very educational to watch. It fits in right along with Dinosour Planet, Future Is Wild, and the Walking With Series. Also good entertainment value, I hope they make a sequel
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Format: DVD
Finally! Someone has gotten it right! Regardless of your beliefs on life on other worlds, this is a truely epic adventure for all of humanity.

As the alien world unfolded before me, I was a little skeptical about the scope and purpose of this film. But after the first twenty minutes or so, I couldn't help but to become emmotionally attached to the AI probes as if they we're the children of us all.

If you have any sort of interest in cosmology or have even a shread of imagination, this excellent ride across the cosmos is for you.

I hope that each one of us carry's with them this sort of spirit in their souls. It will perhaps be the only way Earth's humanity will be remembered.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, let me say I did enjoy the DVD, but it could have been better. First off, it is 94 minutes long, but some of that is overlap because they took out the commercials but left in the commercial breaks. The interviews do make for nice extras but they have only one with Stephen Hawking and a few seem to be repeating what the scientists said in the show.

Also, Alien Planet seems to drag and there seems to be very few alien creatures in the show with little or no details about these creatures. I have to agree with the kid's review that said the book by Wayne D. Barlowe is better.

It's almost as if it was tossed together to try to make a quick profit. I might view it a few more times in the future but I would suggest YOU get it used.
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Format: DVD

This program is based on the book "Expedition" by Wayne D. Barlowe. (He was also executive producer and he makes comments in this program.) It is narrated by John C. McGinley (of the TV show "Scrubs"). The program was filmed entirely on location in Iceland and Mono Lake, California.

This computer-animated program simulates a voyage or mission to an exoplanet (a planet not of our solar system). Here are the particulars of this mission:

(1) Exoplanet name: Darwin 4, an Earth-like planet.
(2) Location: In a binary solar system. (This is a system where a pair of stars orbit about each other, held together by their mutual gravitational attraction.)
(3) Distance from Earth: 6.5 light years. (A light year is the distance light travels in a year, namely 5,880 billion miles).
(4) Decision: to send a robotic spaceship to Darwin 4.
(5) Reason for Decision: To investigate for possible life, especially microscopic life. If any intelligent life is found, attempt contact.
(6) Ship's name: von Braun.
(7) Speed or velocity of ship: 20% of c. ("c" is the speed of light, namely 186 thousand miles per second.)
(8) Number of probes with artificial intelligence to be deployed once Darwin 4 is reached: 3.
(9) Names of probes: Balboa, Da Vinci ("Leo"), and Newton ("Ike").

Once the probes are on Darwin 4, they encounter much more than just microscopic life. They find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem teeming with a diversity of life of all sizes.

Throughout the program are comments made by mainly scientists. Noteworthy scientists include Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku. A noteworthy non-scientist was George Lucas. All their comments are interesting.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
It was a very fun and interesting concept and I did enjoy the movie, although if you are a parent purchasing it for a child under the age of 10 be advised it might be a little slow paced for them. And be prepared to answer plenty of questions! There is a fair amount of scientific info and narrative that younger kids don't find quite as interesting. That being said, I know my son still enjoyed it and I would recommend it to others who would like to encourage their child to find something different to entertain their brain! It's a wonderful opportunity to open an interesting dialogue with your child.
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