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Stonehenge Decoded
Stonehenge Decoded
Actors: Alexander Scourby, Leslie Nielsen, Joseph Campanella, Orson Welles, Richard Basehart
Directors: Alexander Grasshoff, Aram Boyajian, Bert Haanstra, David Seltzer, Jack Kaufman
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 0min

Examines the creation of the prehistoric structure in Southern England using evidence from a recently discovered ancient city; with dramatic reenactments.


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Movie Details

Actors: Alexander Scourby, Leslie Nielsen, Joseph Campanella, Orson Welles, Richard Basehart
Directors: Alexander Grasshoff, Aram Boyajian, Bert Haanstra, David Seltzer, Jack Kaufman
Creators: Al Giddings, Bud Wiser, James Lipscomb
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, History
Studio: Nat'l Geographic Vid
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/01/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Unfounded speculation + existing knowledge = ??
If I was a tree | Australia | 05/23/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"There is very little that is new in this documentary. It is simply a vehicle to push Dr Parker Pearson's own theory, of which no real evidence in support is provided. We are distracted instead with vivid re-enactments, CGI, and a lot of information that is actually "old news". The latter is incorporated in such a way as to imply that Dr Parker Pearson discovered all of it. People who don't know better could be forgiven for concluding that he discovered Woodhenge, for example.

There are also elements of existing theories which are claimed to be the good Doctor's, when in fact they have been around for a long time (eg that Stonehenge is part of a larger ceremonial complex which also incorporates the nearby Woodhenge).

The only thing that appears to belong to Dr Parker Pearson is the theory that Stonehenge was a temple of the dead. But alas, the documentary ends as it began: with no conclusive evidence to support this.

He also seems determined to have himself viewed as some kind of maverick visionary, insisting that he "broke all the rules" in digging outside the henge walls at Durrington instead of inside. However, it has long been known that the outside of a bank/ditch can yield finds just as important as those inside (such as the food scraps and rubbish found at the Lake Village near Glastonbury).

Overall, I'm not terribly impressed. Too much speculation and stuff I already know, but little to support this guy's theory. Nothing has been decoded, it seems."
Good but not perfect.
Brian Nallick | Mpls, MN | 08/24/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"But then again, very few documentaries are perfect.

Ok, I'll make it short.
The good...
Excellent direction.
Good score (what little there is).
Decent acting from the reenactment folks.
The doc. was paced well and held my interest.

The bad...
As others have pointed out there really isn't any way for this guy to prove his theories 100%.
Was Stonehenge decoded?
Not really.
I think he puts out some interesting and plausable therories but like other reviewers have said there are some definite holes in his theories.
And that's fine, Stonehenge dates back to the Stone Age.
Will we ever be 100% certain what Stonehenge was built and used for?
Probably not, there were no written records.
And I'm fine with that also, let Stonehenge keep it's romantic mystery.
Not everything in the world needs explaining.
Stonehenge was, is and will always be, like the pyramids of Egypt a marvel of ancient engineering and wisdom.

Maybe giants brought the rocks.
Maybe it was built throuh magic.
Maybe it WAS built by ancient people to honor the dead.
At the end of the day, just be happy it's still there for us "advanced" people to marvel at.
Ancient wisdom...we could use some of that in todays world."
National Geographic has hit an all-time low
Trajanrome | Cincinnati | 06/05/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"They should invent a zero star category for junk like this. National Geographic has hit an all-time low. Take a great narrator, Donald Sutherland, a once-reputable magazine, National Geographic, a professor from an accredited university (Sheffield), with a hefty money-bag of funding, and an archaeological enigma like Stonehenge, and what do you get? Drivel. Oh, it's true they don't claim aliens made it, or Merlin, though in the end it would have been preferable. Our on-screen academic, Prof. Parker meets some South American? Shaman who lends him his insight--`Don't you know what this is?' The Shaman tells Parker. Light bulbs go off as the amazing Parker has a theory! Parker then sets out to prove his theory, and guess what? He does! He finds exactly what he expects to find--how are we surprised by that? We are amazed! We bask in his brilliance!
You can't do this in real research. Parker's valid finds of the remains of a Neolithic settlement and another structure, a wooden structure laid out quite similar to Stonehenge (both of which would merit this NG special, if treated correctly) are completely obscured by the mounds of speculation shoveled upon it as he engages on a feast of imagination to rival when Schliemann tried to make the tiny Troy II into the city of Homer's Iliad. And bingo! He's proved his theory. All of this is worse because in the end there is not just insufficient evidence, but not even one iota of proof of what he proposes. The video should be renamed, Speculations on some finds near Stonehenge, and then it would be fine, but package theory as truth and it becomes something better scraped off the shoe. The speculations (occasionally prefaced by Sutherland's dreamy voice with the caveat `may') are completely out of nowhere. The tragedy is that the average viewer who hasn't spent a lifetime in Academia might not recognize the scent of shoddiness of this kind, but I just about lost my lunch. The film uses re-enactors who mouth some made up language for which they provide SUBTITLES as though the language were real! Re-enactors are fine for a production like Ken Burns' Civil War, where we know what they wore, who they were, what they spoke, and in many cases exactly where they stood. Burns' technique deftly brought facts alive. This special tries to make wild imagination into history. That's fine for the cinema, but this is supposed to be scholarship! The outfits though are great. Not based on anything, but colorful! I kept expecting Mel Gibson to appear and moon somebody. Watch for the part where two arrow nicks on a male leg bone lead to proof of HUMAN SACRIFICE at the Temple of the Dead! A couple of depressions in a floor near a hearth are one moment proof of constant kneeling, and the next moment presto, we're told the building was only occupied for a few days each year. No attempt is made to reconcile these, yet both are vital for his theory. This video is the absolute worst kind of academic deception and I can no longer respect anything produced by National Geographic. Bring back the brain-eating zombie aliens, they were at least funny!