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Universe (1976)

7.4
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Title: Universe (1976)

Universe (1976) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Reasonable Documentary on Facts about the Universe
16 June 2007 | by (Berkeley, CA USA) – See all my reviews

As others have said, this video gives some facts about the universe and types of stars and the ways they live and die in particular. It includes NASA footage and animations.

Shatner does a good job of narrating without calling attention to himself with the overly dramatic pauses he is sometimes known for. I instantly recognized his voice, but his narration was nicely unobtrusive.

The information is at a pretty basic level, so if you've ever had an astronomy class or even were mildly curious about astronomy and have done a little reading then you probably know most of this. Examples are information about stars going supernova, what a black hole is, etc.

I ran across this on a 2 DVD set of NASA videos called "Mysteries of Space" that I picked up for $4.99. Of the 3 short documentaries on this DVD, this one was by far the best, since it had reasonable information and wasn't nearly so slow-paced as some of the other NASA documentaries. It also showed less gratuitous footage expressing "aren't we cool because of our superior 1960s technology" (which of course looks comically dated). This particular DVD set puts an annoying watermark in the bottom corner of the screen the entire length of these videos (probably so they could say they added something to the video so that people couldn't legally simply re-copy the video off the DVD, see below).

This documentary itself likely has no (or few) copyright restrictions since it was a publication of NASA, a US government agency. This probably explains why is it might be widely available on different DVD collections that simply repackage NASA non-copyrightable videos. It's likely that you can legally view this video for free if you can find it somewhere online.

These documentaries are 100% voice-over narration with other images (no talking to experts or exploring issues or controversies as a more modern documentary probably would). The documentary technique seems dated and slightly more boring at times, but for a film simply presenting basic information it's a passable, if unexciting technique.

It's probably something to watch if you have some time to kill, don't know much about the universe or want to relive the kind of films you saw in the 1970s and 1980s in school (though this is one of the better videos of that type).


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