Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DVD Review: ARTHUR C. CLARKE COLLECTION - 8 DISC EDITION


ARTHUR C. CLARK COLLECTION
The Complete Original + Groundbreaking Series - 8 Disc Edition

MYSTERIOUS WORLDS (1980) - 13 Episodes (325 Minutes) 
MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE (1985) - 26 Episodes (650) Minutes
WORLD OF STRANGE POWERS (1995) - 13 Episodes (340 Minutes) 

Duration: 1315 Minutes
Region Code: 1 NTSC 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 
Video: Fullscreen (4:3) 

Years before Agents Mulder and Scully of the X-Files TV series rekindled my interest in Cryptozoic oddity and the unexplained sci-fi author Arthur C. Clark (2001: A Space Odyssey) opened my young mind to the myriad of unexplained phenomena in 1980 with the 13-part British mini-TV series Mysterious Universe (1980) documenting some of the most perplexing and sensational weirdness known to man. The show was my early introduction to the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and flying saucers. Each episode was introduced and ended by Arthur C. Clark and stuffed with first hand accounts and fascinating filmed footage, it was pretty thrilling stuff when I was 10 and watching it again over thirty years later it's still pretty damn entertaining. Watching each episode I found myself cruising Wikipedia to further investigate each strange topic, scouring the Internet for some new tantalizing tidbit of evidence or video footage to appease my craving for more weirdness. 

Revisiting all 52 episodes I was surprised at just how much ground is covered, we get the face on Mars, fairies, zombies, secrets of the Egyptian pyramids,  spirits from the beyond, crop circles, ancient civilizations, the Bermuda triangle and dozens more unexplained phenomena, there's a little bit of everything here for lovers of science fiction, the occult, the supernatural, aliens and pretty much every bizarre phenomena you can imagine.  

Arthur C. Clarke was the perfect commentator for the subject at hand, clearly a man of science with a true passion for the unexplained. He was not given to blind belief without some science-based proof, offering his own observations and beliefs on each sensational topic at the end of each episode. Clarke's a skeptic but a skeptic who seemingly wants to believe there's something more out there in the universe what we can rationally explain, offering the most probable scientific explanation for each oddity. As he says, "I don't pretend to have all the answers, but the questions are certainly worth thinking about.", very true. 

What this set contains are all 52 half-hour episodes of the three separate series - Mysterious World (1980), World of Strange Powers (1985), and Mysterious Universe (1995) spread out over 8 discs.  Strangely, up to the release of this set these episodes have never before been available on DVD. The source material can be a bit sketchy and grainy from time to time but this is a pretty crisp video presentation considering the age and varying source elements of the video footage. We get an English language Dolby Digital stereo audio track with no subtitle options and the set includes no special features whatsoever,  we have only a basic start-up menu offering either the option to play all or choose individual episodes. 


Despite the fact that the presentation is a bit dated without benefit of fancy editing and the fact it can be a bit dry from time to time I still have to give this 8-disc set a high recommend, particularly for fans of conspiracies, the unexplained, TV's In Search of... , Kolchak: The Nightstalker and The X-Files. These tales of the paranormal are thirty plus years old but the mystery and intrigue are timeless, watching it with my own three children I was pleased to see them take an interest in the unexplained wonders of the cosmos much the same way I did thirty plus years ago when I was about the same age, even without the benefit of nostalgia, this is great set. 4 Outta 5 

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1 comment:

  1. The book that went with The Mysterious World can be had at amazon for a measly 4 pennies, used! A great read and a bargain to boot. Thanks for alerting me to the DVD relase :)

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