Monday, July 19, 2010

DVD Review: The Mysterious Islands

DVD cover

The Mysterious Islands

Length: 1 hours 30 minutes
Publisher: Vision Forum Ministries
Aspect: Widescreen version
First Released: 2009

Source: Review copy from New Leaf Publishing Group (who sells it).

Cover Description:
At the far end of the world, there exists a chain of strange islands, steeped in controversy. The Mysterious Islands is the story of one boy and a team of researchers who take an amazing adventure to the heart of the mystery in search of clues that will expose the truth in a centuries-old dispute.

This beautiful documentary was shot at the Galápagos Islands, "ground zero" for Darwinism. It takes viewers deep beneath the ocean waves, among hundreds of white-tip sharks, to the home of salt-sneezing marine iguanas, on top of volcanic craters, and beside giant tortoises that can live to be more than 150 years of age. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Joshua Phillips who joins his father and noted researchers like Dr. John Morris, this film answers the question: Is the Galápagos a laboratory for evolution or a testimony to the biblical account of creation?

The Mysterious Islands is a Christian documentary film about the Galápagos Island animals. The primary purpose of this movie seemed to be the lovely animal footage and information about those animals. Some of the featured animals include the giant tortoise, the flightless cormorant, the blue bobo, the marine iguana, finches, and sharks & other sea life. The visuals were lovely. They got some amazing shots of the animals. A small amount of the footage was shaky (on purpose--like in a running scene). The music was also very nice.

I liked that the guide brought his 16-year-old son along as well as a scientist. It was interesting to hear their perspectives as well. Since this was a movie with Christian guides, they gave God the glory for the animals rather than evolution. There was some information interspersed throughout the animal footage that very briefly covered: who was Darwin and where did he get his ideas; what precisely does natural selection do (and not do); what do similar characteristics between animals indicate; does geology really point to an old age for the earth; and some history of how Darwin's ideas have influenced history.

Some of the topics weren't as clearly explained as they could have been, but this was partly because the answers didn't seemed scripted and little time was devoted to each topic. So this movie would be useful in reinforcing information already learned or as a brief introduction to a variety of topics. However, it's not likely that this movie will convince a watcher to accept the guides' viewpoint if the watcher already has set ideas against it.

There are two disks: the main movie DVD and a bonus features DVD. The bonus features included deleted scenes, still photos of animals, and more information on topics like early explorers to the Galápagos and the Galápagos Whaling Controversy.

A 13-year-old girl watched the movie with me. She loves animals, and kept exclaiming over the animal shots. She really enjoyed the movie, and I expect she'll end up watching it again.

If you've watched this DVD, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the DVD in the comments.

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