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NOVA: First Flower
NOVA First Flower
Actor: Nova
Director: Nova
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2007     0hr 56min

In a vivid story, blooming with beauty and scientific mystery, NOVA goes hunting for the world?s earliest flower. Although flowers have long been at the center of human life, gracing our gardens and expressing our emotions...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Nova
Director: Nova
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Television, Educational, Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/31/2007
Original Release Date: 07/30/2003
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 0hr 56min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Mix of Two Unrelated Subjects
midwestguy | Peoria, IL United States | 11/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Plants are not cute, not warm and fuzzy, not exciting, hard to identify with--they don't even move! Presumably this is why there is so little available on video about our world's plants, as opposed to the hundreds of videos about animals, wet and dry, large and small, living and extinct, real and cartoon. In fact, other than gardening videos, the only other video I know of about flora is David Attenborough's "Private Life of Plants".
This seems backwards to me. It is precisely because plants seem so "other" to us that we could use more help in understanding them. And really good videos would make them not only more understandable but also more interesting and alive--more, that is, that just part of the background against which various animals kill and eat each other.
Apparently, interest in videos about plants is so limited that when there is finally a plant video everything possible needs to be squeezed into it, whether it is related to the topic or not. This is what happens here. As the video description says, there are actually two stories here: first, the search for the appearance of the first flower in the geological record; and second, the mountainous area of China which seems to be the "world's garden"--that is, the home of many of the world's current flowering plant families. Other than the fact that both stories are about flowering plants, I'll be danged if I can see what they have to do with each other.
Of the two stories, the search for the first flower in the geological record is the best done and therefore the most interesting. The focus is primarily on one discovery and the claim that this is the first flower in the planet's history. The naration around this story does a good job discussing the significance and importance of the evolution of flowering plants, the various methods that scientists use in their search for flowering plants in the geological record, and the controversy and evidence as to whether this discovery actually represented the first flower or not.
By contrast, the story about the flowers found in the Chinese mountains is extremely underdeveloped. Instead, it does little more than show two plant specialist who go around saying 'wow, look at that' (take picture) and 'holy smokes, look at that one there' (take picture). For fans of latin scientific names you do hear some--perhaps they should have given a quiz at the end to see how many you remembered.
It's too bad that the producers of the video didn't take the time to develop this into two real stories instead of the sort of one-and-a-half we actually get. But that would have been risky: remember, plants are boring.
Five stars for the story on the first flowering plant in earth's history; four stars for making any video about plants; three stars for not doing it right. Average: four stars."
Be amazed.
L. Glasco | Newport News, VA USA | 07/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The program opens with a scientist receiving from one of his students a plant fossil that turns out to be one the oldest, if not the oldest, flowering plant fossil ever found. Is it the First Flower?

I am a Master Gardener and I was amazed at the beauty of all the flowers growing wild in China. Probably all of them have been collected previously and they are growing in our gardens but to see them in their native habitat was just breath-taking.

The photography is absolutely wonderful and the subject for me was mesmerizing.

Also on this disc is another program about the wild parrots of Australia. Again I was overwhelmed by the beauty of these birds. They are absolutely gorgeous and even though they are brightly colored, somehow they blend into their environment to confuse predators. The makers of this film followed the different flocks to document their breeding habits and lives. There are so many different birds to see - from parrots to cocatiels (I didn't know they also come in black) to parakeets... millions and millions of parakeets. There is even one tiny parrot that is so small a fig is larger than it is.

Enjoy!"
Informative but -- more importantly for me -- beautiful & in
Sharon | 05/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have a lot of great informative books on plants, especially garden and ornamental flowering plants, but I have no books that compare with the beauty of this presentation.
As the other review notes, this product covers two stories. It seems a little silly to me to present the search for the first flowering plant as two teams competing with each other for 'first' when the issue is really 'oldest yet known' but -- also noted in the other review -- plants are not considered as interesting as animals and even a documentary needs a story, preferably with conflict, to hold an audience.
For me the real heart of this video was the beautiful camera work in that Chinese mountain valley, full of a profusion of mixed wild flowers that we struggle to grow in our gardens. The scientists exploring this valley are obviously overwhelmed by the abundance and variety before them; that was all the story that thread needed, as far as I'm concerned.
I would gladly pay for a full hour (or two!) of shots from this valley. The music and pacing were such that it could stand in for an episode of Sunrise Earth as a drug-free tranquillizer for those evenings when I need to be someplace completely apart from work and money and conflict.
I also intend to change the way I design my ornamental plantings to reflect this example of how un-improved species flowers grow together, complementing each other in ways our modern versions cannot improve upon."