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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A refreshing post-'apocalyptic' fantasy

Author: Framescourer from London, UK
11 July 2008

It's very difficult to get one's head around the basic concept, in a way. One imagines that a world without humans is entirely possible, but only after a catastrophic event leaving its mark on the world: nuclear war, viral epidemic or perhaps even collision with a meteor. In any case the assumption is that the world we leave would be burning, infected or crushed.

The beauty of the film - and it is beautiful, despite the repetitious CGI montages necessarily concocted to show the world's great landmarks under water or foliage - is in this unlikely predicate. If we simply weren't here, what would become of the world? Professorial types talk about the likely outcomes in their specialist areas, how wild or urban life readjusts, the rise of plant life, the decay of unmaintained constructions. It's wonderfully uncontroversial. There's no moralising, no wistfulness or pity, just a technical and statistical explanation of the survival algorithm of non-human life.

I think David de Vries is probably right to include a rather melodramatic Day After Tomorrowish score and repeat images of the great monuments of civilisation (cities) crumbling. After all, the drama of the film for us is the unspoken one - that we have gone. I like the non-drama though and, with Struan Rodger's straightforward narration, I found the experience rather wonderful and positive. 6/10

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19 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Great documentary

Author: PyTom83 from United Kingdom
11 June 2009

I watched it when it first aired and It was really interesting and fairly awesome. I think the entire thing kind of reinforces my not being religious. I mean 10,000 years after we all die all of our buildings fall down, all of our paper rots away, and the entire place is all grass again. Plus, from the documentary, if you took the entire history of planet Earth and made it into a 24 hour day humans would only make up 30 seconds of that day. Our entire human existence is 30 seconds out of a full 24 hour day yet the world is here for us and made for us? Please.

We're just not that special or important. Probably the creatures with the highest intelligence that will ever walk the face of the planet but that's about it. The world wasn't designed for us, we're just here.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

OK subject but stretched too thin and overly-reliant on effects that have been done better elsewhere

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
11 September 2008

You can see this coming a mile away in the TV guide and, even when I watched it hoping for more, it did just what it suggested it would. There are lots of "what if" films out there and some of them are genuinely interesting and informative, however Life After People is not one of them. Instead it goes down the road of so many of them and just focuses on the special effects of the "what if" rather than the substance. This approach makes for a good 30 minute long programme, I'll give you that, but here the idea is stretched out to 90 minutes, with plenty of advert breaks to help you along.

The effects are pretty good though; not Hollywood standards by any means but for the minute they are pretty good and reasonably imaginative. It doesn't help to be shown the same shots over and over again though because it does make the viewer realise just how much padding there is throughout. The experts are all on hand to provide justification and explanation but none of them can get passed the problem that it is not that interesting a question in the first place due to its lack of relevance. They all take about how quickly nature will come back in etc but nobody can make it important or interesting beyond the "oh, that's nice" level of interest. I know there is debate about how quickly things would really happen versus what was said in this film but for me the bigger thing to work out is why it manages to make me care so little? Life after People provides effect shots of buildings falling and cities overgrown. As such it is already competing with Hollywood sci-fi's with much bigger budgets to play with. It does an OK job with this but has nowhere near enough to show or talk about to fill even half of the running time and just gets repetitive and dull long before it is over. A shame really, because it would be a better film had the pressure not been on to fill space as much as possible whether the film merited it or not.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:


Author: thegingeravenger from United Kingdom
26 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This 'documentary' manages to string out 2 or 3 one-sentence ideas into an hour and a half of irksome and repetitive tedium. The same low budget animations are rolled out time and time again. And then again. If a building crashes into the ground for the fifth time in one programme are the audience supposed to care?

What will life be like after people? It'll be beautiful rolling landscapes with lush green fields, animals running around with gay abandon and virtually no sign of our existence in next to no time at all. Things will fall over. Green stuff will grow. The bottom line though is that it doesn't really matter cos none of us will be there to see it.

The best news that comes out of this documentary is that DVDs won't last forever so any aliens stumbling across the remnants of our civilization won't be subjected to the kind of TV-opiate trash like this that is supposed to pass as entertainment.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Goodbye Humans, and Good Riddance.

Author: screenman from United Kingdom
23 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A post-apocalyptic documentary with a surprisingly up-beat subtext. I enjoyed it very much.

It was definitely far too long, and slack space was in-filled by repeated use of CGI effects. This was a shame, and down-valued what I thought was an intelligent, entertaining and well-crafted feature.

I have become weary of dumumentaries that appear to suppose a typical audience IQ in double figures. This one was hardly rocket science, but a sufficient sprinkling of informative worthies were courted for their opinions. And this, a well-paced narration, excellent CGI effects mingled with real-life photography resulted in a superior docu-drama. It was timely as well, because it is becoming increasingly evident that we lack the behavioural and political wherewithal to constrain our excesses and that nature must inevitably intercede.

The uplifting - and at the same time, humbling - element of the programme was the finiteness of our artifacts and the ephemeral nature our all the things we hold in such high esteem and pride. Ten millennia and we're indistinguishable from the dust. Ashes to ashes, and all that.

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Author: Cute Collie from Earth
21 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Overall it is a good show but it is very repetitive and it is too much focus on American landmarks, most of which are places that are extremely insignificant like who the f**k cares about a creepy elephant statue in Atlantic City or some random church in Boston. Australia was only in one episode and it was only about the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour bridge, nothing else. I think the episodes should have set up so certain groups of episodes would be dedicated to a certain continent and another episode about one of the capital cities.

Take the episode "The Capital Threat" for example, it is an episode dedicated to capital cities and the only one one featured is Washington D.C. and Los Angeles is NOT a capital city why didn't they feature a city like London or Canberra. It would have made much more sense.

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well worth the $1 I paid

Author: nzpedals from whakamaru
27 June 2016

It was in a "scratched" bin at an op-shop, but all three discs played OK. Each of the ten programmes is only 42 minutes, so at one/day, it kept me interested for quite a while.

In each episode, I found at least one really interesting item, mostly about abandoned places... a village in Dorset, a whole city in Indiana, a whole (small) island near Japan. And then there was the plants side. I knew a little about the vine Kudzu, and now I know a bit more, and Brazilian ginger too.

Yes, the frequent CGI's of pancaking buildings gets a bit tiresome, especially when I know that this will take many decades before it happens, and, as others have pointed out, no one will see it, so who- cares? And only some of the "experts" were interesting. Although made in 2007, there were no shots of the twin towers demise.

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Interesting and Educational.

Author: Kat Webb
27 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This series is a little too tightly focused on the USA. It shows what would happen to almost every major city in the USA in a life after people but only a handful of places around the world. I feel it is highly dramatised and only describes what could happen if the worst possible set of circumstances were to occur. Everything that is built in the modern era is portrayed to be very brittle and fragile and most of modern society's achievements will apparently not last more than 100-200 years. A building that has already lasted 100 years might not last another 20 years without humans and the only reason given is "lack of maintenance". At times it does get a bit repetitive,just showing building after building giving up, falling down, then the cycle repeats. The jumps in time which are commonplace may cause a little confusion.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Looking forward to another season of Life After People...

Author: Darin Wissbaum from Milwaukee/ United States
30 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't care what anyone says about not liking this program I feel it's one of the more original programs to come out of the History Channel in a long time. And now all new shows of Life After People starts 1/5/10. It is fascinating to see what would happen to our cities and beloved landmarks once people where no longer on the planet to tend to them. How fast nature would re-claim what is hers. Not only do they show what would happened to such places and things as New York, London, The Golden gate Bridge and GM's Head Quarters but they also show examples of places already in decline on the planet because people are not there to look after it. An example is parts of Detroit that is completely void of humans and we are shown buildings crumbling after just a few short decades. Also what is interesting is the environment in which the city is in would determine how fast it would completely vanish. For example, New York would be gone long before Las Vegas being that Vegas is in more of a dry climate. I would like to see more of environmental damage being covered on this program and how it might affect change after humans are gone. But in any case a very smart enjoyable program that I highly recommend.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What did we do that was so wrong?

Author: estimated-proffitt from United States
14 May 2009

This movie was definitely interesting. I loved imagining what places like New York City would look like without people. The images of zoo animals' establishing an ecosystem in deserted cities really makes you think. The one thing that I didn't quite get was how people are going to disappear and all the wildlife still live on unaffected. I know that was not supposed to go into how people vanished but the entire premise was kind of like if we took off in a spaceship or rapture or something. I think that in reality, whatever causes people end our run on earth will affect most of the wildlife also. Regardless, this was a well thought out film that causes us to think of humanity as a very temporary part of earth's history and not the end-all-be-all of the universe.

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