Search - Evolution (parts 4 & 5): Evolutionary Arms Race/Why Sex? on DVD

Evolution (parts 4 & 5): Evolutionary Arms Race/Why Sex?
Evolution Evolutionary Arms Race/Why Sex
parts 4 & 5
Actor: Liam Neeson (narrator)
Directors: Gail Willumsen, Noel Buckner, Robert Whittlesey
Genres: Documentary
NR     2001     2hr 0min

The Evolutionary Arms Race: "Survival of the fittest." Raw competition? Or, a level of cooperation indispensable to life? Evolution tells us that both are important. We explore our own spiraling arms race with microorgani...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Liam Neeson (narrator)
Directors: Gail Willumsen, Noel Buckner, Robert Whittlesey
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/20/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"The Evolutionary Arms Race" and "Why Sex?" on "Evolution 3"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This PBS series on "Evolution" is as much about the profound impact the evolutionary process has had on our understanding of the world around us as it is on the various versions of the theory that have been expounded in scientific textbooks for the past century. The series basically focuses on five key concepts regarding evolution, sandwiched between episodes that constitute a dramatic introduction and a controversial coda.This third of four DVDs in the set provides episodes four and five. "The Evolutionary Arms Race" puts the entire concept of natural selection and survival of the fittest in the context of humanity's battles with microorganisms, looking at a case study regarding the reemergence of tuberculosis in Russian prisons. With the alarming spread of resistance among pathogens that cause disease, the episode explains how this particular "race" offers the major threat to human existence. The scary question here is whether we are fighting a battle we cannot win. The next episode, "Why Sex?" makes the contention that in evolutionary terms sex is more important than life itself, which will certainly get your attention. But on a more pragmatic level is addresses the question of whether males are necessary to perpetuate the species, looking at a wide variety of case studies drawn from nature. This episode also explains the principle of monogamy in evolutionary terms, which is certainly an interesting way of approaching the subject. This may well be the most fascinating volume in the series simply because it provides such a different perspective on one aspect of evolution with which most people are intimately familiar.Overall I like the fact that "Evolution" goes for depth rather than breadth. The case studies, at least to my uneducated mind, come across as being representative of the issue under discussion. The DVD series also features access to the Evolution Web site with its interactive games, activities, and biographies, so those who would like to get additional information and insight on any one of these topics can easily do so. There are also student lessons for teachers who want to work these episodes into their science classes and a printable teacher's guide, which is what you expect from anything associated with PBS (a.k.a. educational television)."
AIDS, asthma, flu, common cold--if we're so smart, why can't
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 06/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)


"The Evolutionary Arms Race" and "Why Sex?" are parts four and five respectively (on one disc) in the seven-part "Evolution" series. Part one (on one disc by itself) and parts two and three (together on one disc) don't have to be seen to understand these two parts. However, I strongly recommend viewing part one entitled "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" first before viewing these two parts.

Briefly, the fourth part "The Evolutionary Arms Race" (8 scenes, 55 min) explores the human arms race with microorganisms (the only real biological threat to human existence) and traces the alarming spread of resistance among pathogens that cause disease. This brief statement does not do this interesting program justice. Thus, here is part of this program's actual "prologue" or introduction as said by the narrator, actor Liam Neeson:

"The arms race between humans and microbes cannot be won by drugs alone. But if we learn to harness evolution, we may reach a truce with our mortal enemies."

The fifth part entitled "Why Sex?" (7 scenes, 55 min) investigates the seemingly endless kaleidoscope of sexual expression and the powerful hold sex exerts over almost all living things. Here is some of this program's prologue:

"Something every living thing is programmed to do. It's worth fighting for, maybe even dying for. In fact, from an evolutionary perspective, sex is more important than life itself...And while we [humans] won't trade our lives for sex, most of us will risk death to protect our children, the carriers of our genes. Evolution is a story written over countless generations. To inherit, and pass on genes is to be part of the and genes...driving behavior, driving evolution."

Brief comments are made throughout both parts or both programs by such people as university professors, biologists, public health officials, etc. There is also excellent photography and animation throughout.

These programs alone sold on this single disc are for those who don't want to shell out the $90.00 (the price at the time this review was written) for the entire boxed set "Evolution" seven-part series.

Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2002) is perfect in picture and sound quality. There are no extras.

In conclusion, if you want to understand two intriguing facets of evolution--namely, microorganisms & disease and sex--this is the film to see!!

(2001; 1 hr, 50 min; made for TV ("Nova"); wide screen; 15 scenes; closed captioned)