Mega Disast: Oil Apocalypse
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If the classic post-apocalyptic movie Mad Max teaches us anything it's that we do NOT want to be around when the oil runs out. But if we continue at our current levels of dependence, utilizing fossil fuels for everything from growing corn to driving to our mailbox, that will indeed be our fate. The oil that runs our world won't last forever. The gap between supply and demand is ever-growing. Even without increasing our current rate of consumption we will empty the Earth's large but finite reservoirs in a relatively short time. Will alternative energy save us or is it already too late? What would happen to the world as we know it when our oil dependent industries come to a grinding halt? A worldwide depression is a certainty but a power struggle for the basic necessities of life would be complete chaos
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Hector Ortiz and Marnie Munch
First, the sound mix is *terrible*. The musical soundtrack often overwhelms the vocals of the experts so you can hardly understand them. Sometimes, they're completely drowned out. But it isn't just the music; even the ambient or location sounds often drown out their speech! I even turned off surround-sound on my TV, but that didn't help -- which means it is the mix. I suppose it could have been a problem with the streaming, but there is so much wrong with this that I would not test that by ordering the DVD.
Second, the musical soundtrack veers insanely between operatic and heavy metal. It's Wagnerian bombast one minute and Metallica-ish crunching guitar another; there is no consistency. That irritating inconsistency, on top of blocking out what the forensic anthropologists say, is really. effing. annoying.
Third, the re-enactments are shlocky, cheesy, and really gruesome. Now, I'm okay with cheesy and even violent re-enactments, especially if they're done in a "night time telly" sort of way. They're typically part and parcel of most of these historical/anthropological science specials -- otherwise it would just be a bunch of talking heads, people sifting dirt or brushing off bones, and close-ups of bones and bone fragments, which most people don't find particularly exciting (except us science geeks).
But the re-enactments of the past violence on this special are just really badly done -- the "acting" is awkward, the re-enactments are uncompelling, and the violence is both obviously fake and also gratuitously gory, which makes it just shlocky and shoddy.
I'm not entirely sure how good the science is here, either, but many of these type documentaries have been slung together on flimsier theories, so I'll give it a pass. So much of science is speculation until anything empirical can be proven, that you sort of have to just go with it until work on the theories bears empirical fruit, and then everyone can argue over the results.
But at one point the experts talk about how skull fragments of the remains found in the mass grave indicate that the Viking sword used to decapitate the victims cut cleanly through thick parts of the skull, such as the mastoid process. Multiple people talk about how sharp the Vikings' swords were, how they cut cleanly through the vertebrae and skull bones, how they were so strongly wielded by the Vikings (the head of one of the Viking victims' humerus was bigger than the head of his femur, indicating far greater upper body strength, presumably from lots of sword-wielding fighting).
Then the one demonstrates for the other with a Viking sword reading "Ulfbehrt" along the shaft and a sheep carcass. (Whether or not the sword used is an authentic Ulfbehrt, or a newly forged one, we are never told.) With one blow he attempts to slice through the lamb carcass' neck with the "Ulfbehrt" sword the way they say the bodies were decapitated and it doesn't even make it all the way through. Out of the multiple times they shot this scene, THIS was the best version? the one where they didn't even make it through the neck?? Sure they made it through the vertebra, but... come on.
There are good Viking science/anthropology/history documentary specials out there. This is not one of them. If you can see this for free, you might like to check it out. But by no means should you pay for this; it is so not worth it.
Any of the PBS specials are better (Nova-Secrets of the Viking Sword; Nova-The Vikings). They are longer, too -- this is only 45 minutes. PBS specials are typically 50+ minutes, sometimes as much as 54 or 55 minutes. They don't have to leave room for commercials.
When were these men massacred? Why were they killed? Who were they? This video follows scientists as they attempt to put together this story.
Would have been better if the music hadn't drowned out the story.