Search - Human Body: Pushing the Limits on DVD

Human Body: Pushing the Limits
Human Body Pushing the Limits
Actor: Bray Poor
Directors: Mark Radice, Jeremy Turner, Dan Clifton
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2008     2hr 45min

You've never seen the human body like this before. In this groundbreaking series, we push the human form to its extremes, capturing both the power and the poetry. You will be surprised and even shocked as stunning CGI effe...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Bray Poor
Directors: Mark Radice, Jeremy Turner, Dan Clifton
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: Discovery Channel
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Excellent series!
A. M. Chenoweth | Ohio | 09/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 2-disc set presents 4 episodes focused on different areas in which the human body is "pushing the limits": sight, strength, sensation, & brain power. I have actually shown some clips in my general psychology class as the material is presented in an easy to follow & interesting format -- perfect for freshmen! For anyone who is a Discovery Channel geek like myself, whether you're an educator or it's just a hobby (or both), this is a must-have for your collection. My only regret is that I bought it directly from the Discovery Channel website rather than -- I could've saved about $15!"
Mildly informative show ruined by spasmodic editing, repetit
buru buru piggu | New York, NY USA | 09/30/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The "Human Body" comes to us as four 40-minute episodes (Sight, Strength, Sensation, Brain Power) on 2 Blu-ray discs, housed in a standard-sized case. Each episode contains personal accounts of extraordinary survival tales, re-enactments by actors, and computer animations. The back of the box touts itself as a "groundbreaking program" with "stunning CGI", but the production is anything but innovative. The main problem is that it tries to look like an action movie instead of a science show. In an attempt to appeal to more casual audiences, Discovery has skipped over a lot of the science and medical presentation in favor of computer graphics and trendy camera tricks. It's heavy on stylization and light on the science, using a lot of fast cuts, cliche editing techniques, and repetitive CGI. For example, the first episode ("Sight") begins with a re-enactment of a high speed police car chase through crowded city streets, with overused Terminator-like cross-hair targeting motion graphics and accompanying sci-fi sound effects.

All the episodes are plagued with uneven editing that makes the series look at times like a music video or an extended car commercial. A typical example of the overused, spasmodic, and cliche editing is the stop and go motion of many shots: shots will start off in slow motion, then suddenly sped up, then slowed again, sometimes rapidly intercut with a series of other shots. This is what a science show might look like if Michael Bay directed it. While people with attention deficit disorder may find this acceptable, my patience quickly wore thin.

Secondly is the frequent, overused, and repetitive CG. You'll be seeing the same animations over and over again, several times within the same episode. Among them are 3-D rotations of a transparent human body, the skull and parts of the brain, or signals traveling through a web of nerve fibers (think Spider-Man opening credits), etc. These are shown again and again in every episode. Surprisingly, there are very few shots of actual cells or tissue under magnification. I counted less than 5 shots of actual photos from scanning electron microscopes (bone structure, muscle fiber), with no x-rays, MRI's or other medical imaging that I can remember.

The main problem is this series was designed for commercial television, not home video. Each episode is built around six self-contained 7-minute segments, with a commercial break in between. Much of the same animation is repeated in each of these segments as a reminder of what happened before the break. For Blu-ray viewers watching with the commercial breaks removed, the disruption in continuity is jarring and abrupt.

Another poor choice is the deliberate cinéma vérité feel of all the personal interviews. For every single one of these shots, the camera has that wobbly hand-held look, usually accompanied a mandatory zoom in on the speaker (think NYPD Blue or Cloverfield). Content-wise, I found these to be the most interesting part of the series. In particular, I wanted to hear more about the man who survived for 30+ days at sea, the woman who fell off the side of a mountain and crawled 2 days to safety with a fractured hip and leg bones, or the French hiker who was trapped inside a cave for over a month with no food. Sadly, the interviews with experts and accounts from survivors are short. I'd much rather hear a survivor's first-hand account of his/her ordeal or a medical experts explanation than watch a dramatized recreation or another recycled animation.

Lastly, the show is not helped by Bray Poor's over-dramatized narration. His speaking style is unnatural and his intonation makes him sound like he's voicing over a movie trailer.

To sum up, this is "science lite". Watch it on Discovery if it comes on the air again, but give this BD a miss. It's not worth owning. The poor production choices distract from the presentation of facts and there is nothing innovative about superimposing 3D animations over live shots. You may wish to check out the much better National Geographic - Incredible Human Machine, National Geographic - Inside the Living Body, or NOVA: Secrets of the Mind DVDs instead."
Was looking for supplemental materials for class and SCORED!
Jaime X. Yetter | Kendall Park, NJ United States | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the first year that I am teaching a human anatomy and physiology class in high school. I was looking for some materials to supplement the usual textbook/memorization that accompanies a course like this. This is an excellent video(s). It's too long to show at one long stretch in class, but broken up, it really helps to break up the monotony that can so easily come to an anatomy class. And it's well done, so the kids enjoy it for it's entertainment value as well. It can be difficult to find videos that are educational and entertaining without being cheesey, but this video accomplishes that task well."
Human Body: Greatest Machine Ever Created!
RJRo20 | California | 10/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I agree with fellow reviewers that this DVD will appeal to students. It's educational, engaging, and very entertaining. The groundbreaking CGI effects and amazing real-life stories are riveting. From the ordinary to the extraordinary, there are great survival lessons to be learned, and how our bodies push to every extreme and challenge.

In addition to this DVD, I also highly recommend NGC's National Geographic - Incredible Human Machine, which further explores the physiological functions and inner organs of the human body. (Don't know why it's labeled as being produced in 1975. The documentary premiered late '07, if I recall correctly). Anyway, it complements DC's series very well.