Search - NOVA - Life's Greatest Miracle on DVD

NOVA - Life's Greatest Miracle
NOVA - Life's Greatest Miracle
Actors: Neil Ross, Liev Schreiber, Jay O. Sanders, Stacy Keach, Lance Lewman
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2002     1hr 0min

NOVA collaborates with Swedish scientific photographer Lennart Nilsson to use breathtaking new footage and state-of-the-art computer animation to show - in more complete detail than ever before - the making of a human life...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Neil Ross, Liev Schreiber, Jay O. Sanders, Stacy Keach, Lance Lewman
Creators: D.J. Roller, Sam Henriques, John Angier, Mark Davis, Mark Hobson
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pregnancy & Childbirth, Pre & Post-Natal, Television, Documentary
Studio: PBS Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/16/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Good side bad side
Gadgester | 11/10/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

".. There is some very cool photography here, especially of implantation and the early weeks of fetal development. There's also a lot of boring non-expert talking head stuff (this expectant couple loves to tango!!), and disappointingly little science. The cursory handling of meiosis is as complex as it gets. Regarding the advertised new take on the gender politics in the fertilization story: yes, they have eliminated the whole 'mighty sperm penetrates the egg' narrative, but the alternative introduces its own new gender based anthropomorphism of these single cells ('the egg is guarded by watchful chaperones...')It also features a strangely abrupt ending - it says something about the last 2/3rds of pregnancy being uneventful ..) and then pretty much cuts to the end. So, buy it if you want to glean the 6-7 minutes of cool photography, but don't expect much more."
An incredible journey on video
Gadgester | Mother Earth | 10/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Life's Greatest Miracle" is a one-hour PBS program on how the human life starts in the womb. Produced circa 2001, it was an updated edition of the ~1983 ground-breaking "The Miracle of Life," also aired in the U.S. under the auspice of the Nova series.

I've watched both DVDs and I'll compare the two. If you are debating which version to watch, I say it depends on your interest: if you want to see more microscopy photography, get the original "The Miracle of Life." If you want a better viewing experience, get this one, "Life's Greatest Miracle." I give both DVDs 3 stars.

While not as ground-breaking as the original, "Life's Greatest Miracle" sports higher-definition, more colorful microscopic video images, which are simply amazing. Of course, everyone who's never seen a large number of sperm swimming around will simply be mesmerized. I couldn't tell whether the all the video footage of the wiggling sperm was the same as in the original edition, but it seemed to me that here either the sperm were stained more (with chemicals so they stand out against the background, as is done all the time in biology), or the producers somehow increased the contrast. To the viewer, the action (no pun intended!) is more captivating. (In the old edition, images are coarser and less colorful.)

The biggest difference between this edition and the original program is the emphasis of the content. The original edition emphasizes the science part, and there are long sequences of cells dividing and inside looks of the vagina and uterus. This edition focuses on the entire process more, and speeds up and cuts out some of the long microscopic video scenes from the original edition. The story in this edition is weaved better and seems less like a science class as "The Miracle of Life."

Also, the present edition features updated information as well as some additional video (but not much). Also, there's more animation to help the viewer understand. The original program tends to get boring and confusing, but things are much more easily understood in this updated volume.

But I only give "Life's Greatest Miracle" 3 stars because, like the first one, it just doesn't have enough interesting stuff. Actual microscopic footage occupies perhaps just 1/3 of the total running time, and there's this unnecessary story of a pregnant couple. What's more, I couldn't tell whether some of the "inside the womb" scenes were microscopic photography or computer-rendered graphics, and this troubles me. I prefer "real" images, even if it means staining cells in order to make them look more vivid. Computer-generated stuff is fake, and it's worst when someone tries to pass it off as real.

In short, "Life's Greatest Miracle" is an informative and enjoyable program to watch -- and you are treated to the commercials that precede PBS's Nova airing! (Luckily you can forward-skip them.) Whether you are expecting or not, I recommend this, so everyone can appreciate human life more.

If you want a more science-oriented view with more microscopic footage, get the original "The Miracle of Life." The presentation is drier but you get to see more images that demonstrate how miraculous life is."
Manny Hernandez | Bay Area, CA | 04/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am an expecting father, and as such, in the company of my wife we've been reading and learning about babies and pregnancy. I confess I was in awe with the images from this PBS video. There is not another word to describe the whole process from conception to birth but a miracle! The video in a very easy-to-follow way describes in considerable detail all the stages with the support of extraordinary footage and computer animation. Not just meant for parents-to-be but for everyone at large. Don't miss it."
Nice DVD
jfnsantiago | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 10/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I think this video has the main four important features in a documentary very well balanced: scienfic informations, images, 3-D computer generated drawings and real human story. It deserves to be watched once at least."