Discover the world, one person at a time... Discovery Atlas! Get a fresh perspective on China, one of the world's richest cultures, as you hear individual life stories told through the eyes of the locals. Insightful storyt... more »elling and spectacular photographic techniques brings to life the fascinating and complex, contemporary world of one of the greatest nations on earth. In one of the few times in its 5,000 year history - the oldest, most populous nation opens its doors to the rest of the world. The economics of Feudalism and Communism are out and Capitalism is in. Old walls are being torn down and a futuristic landscape of glass and steel is shooting up in its place. Leading the construction frenzy is Vincent Lo, China's answer to Donald Trump. Exploring where tradition meets modernity, follow the dreams of a 12-year-old Olympic hopeful, then join rice farmers tilling land their ancestors have worked for 18 centuries. Using the latest generation of hi-definition cameras and effects techniques, see China like you've never seen it before. It's a visual delight, delving deep into the people and places of the oldest civilization on the planet.« less
"A beautiful documentary and one that I had to have on DVD after I saw it on the Discovery Channel.
It gives you a little background, but in the majority of the 100 minutes you follow several people such as a young gymanst, a window washer in Shanghai hoping to find fortune, a family who still works in the rice fields, a young martial artist, a policewoman in the Gansu province, and several others.
You are able to follow them and understand their way of life in this fascinating country. It is interesting and yet almost sad at how technology and the future is hurting some of the ancient traditions and ways of life in China.
My only complaint is that in the middle of the documentary, it gets a little slow, and I would have preferred to hear more about the actual country, but it's still a fabulous documentary.
The narration is great, music is beautiful, the design and feel of the documentary is fantastic. All in all, I loved it and enjoy watching it very much."
Life in contemporary China
Kim Boykin | New York, NY | 01/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 100-minute documentary, narrated by James Spader (who plays Alan Shore on "Boston Legal"), explores life in contemporary China, highlighting the opportunities and challenges of life in the world's most populous nation and fastest growing economy.
You'll meet a twelve-year-old gymnast hoping to make the Olympic team; a window cleaner in Shanghai who moved there for the economic opportunities, while his wife and child live in the country; a young woman who gets plastic surgery to improve her prospects in the business world; nomads of Inner Mongolia; a wealthy property developer; rice growers; a master of martial arts; a woman who works on the drug squad; and the last of the imperial bowmakers.
I was disappointed that almost nothing was said about how the Chinese government and economy actually work, and I would've liked to hear more about the effects and side-effects of the "one child" policy. I like James Spader, but his narration struck me as excessively earnest and dramatic, as did the musical score, especially given the film's rather bland, "safe" content.
A much better documentary about contemporary China is "China From the Inside." And an excellent documentary on twentieth-century Chinese history is "China: A Century of Revolution.""
HD cinematography is breathtaking.
Ken Rosario | San Francisco, CA | 02/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As this unique experience that covers many of the diverse cultures within China unfolds, you are held in astonishment of the beauty and detail that HD brings to life of the colorful Chinese culture. This production took over 18 months to film and it resulted in an extremely refined, non-biased, educational view into China."
Amazing. Simply Amazing.
Gordon K. Werner | Seattle, WA USA | 12/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a shame that there are people who don't bother to READ what these documentaries are about BEFORE they buy them and are disappointed.
The oft-stated aim of Discovery Atlas is not a history lesson ... it is a unique look at countries through the eyes and personal stories of a select group of individuals.
What better ways to learn the true feelings and emotions than by this manner.
Exquisitely shot, wonderfully narrated, these videos provide a unique look into each of these nations that one would not otherwise EVER be party to."
Joseph Castleberry | Chicago | 06/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Where to start. When I originally seen this I assumed it was an ordinary documentary covering history and culture. However, this wonderful series took a step in a different direction by getting more into the lives of current residents, and how current life ties into the history of the country. There are many comparisons of the original culture to currrent culture, including the parts of the country that are conforming, and the parts that choose to keep everything in its purest essence. Overall, you will enjoy learning of parts unknown in this very nicely captured and directed contemporary documentary.
Also to note - the quality of the video is very nice - I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars."