Greece: Secrets of the Past DVD Review

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I remember taking a catamaran (speedboat) ferry on my first trip to Greece from the island of Ios to Crete with my friends whom I met on the trip. Greek music was being played on the loudspeakers. The music was beautiful. It’s difficult to explain but it was peaceful and soothing, felt relaxing as the ferry plowed through the Aegean waters towards Crete at a fairly fast speed, compared to the much slower large Greek ferries. I started to watch the DVD - Greece: Secrets of the Past and the panoramic aerial views of Greece and the Greek islands that were filmed at the beginning and the Greek music being played reminded me of this feeling, this memory on the ferry of one of my trips to Greece and the Greek islands.

This DVD was originally created for IMAX and the picture quality and colors, landscape views and island views from the air are amazing. It really does feel like you are on the plane with the camera operator. My DVD version is also narrated by Nia Vardalos who starred in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The DVD looks at the early, ancient history of Greece. Greece’s many contributions to science, architecture, politics, culture and its people by focusing on the panoramic island of Santorini, Athens and the island of Delos. Basically the DVD covers Greece from approximately 1700 B.C. to 400 AD.  It also provides panoramic views of other places in Greece, but as the camera films the fly bys, the documentary sometimes fails to mentions what place or archeological site that is being shown. I feel that the creators of this DVD should have put a text description for each place. If you haven’t been to that place you will not know where it is. Even if you have been to Greece, it’s possible you may not have visited a particular place shown on the DVD.

The first discussion on the DVD begins with Santorini. It films the island and discusses it in a lot of detail by looking at the ancient civilization that flourished there around 1700 BC, the volcanic eruption that occurred a few decades later that would preserve that civilization for eternity and the landscape and volcanology (vulcanology) of the island itself. In my opinion, Santorini is a breathtaking and very interesting island to visit. Plus it has amazing sunsets and is a great place for a honeymoon.

The documentary then takes you on a journey to Athens looking at its history primarily during the time of Pericles and its contributions to world civilizations: independent thinking, democracy, medicine, anatomy and art. Statues are now lifelike, truly representative of the human form compared to the uni-demensional, static representations of people found in Egyptian hieroglyphs or the more rigid Egyptian sculptures.

The documentary discusses and re-creates the Parthenon and mentions it as an amazing feat of architecture. The Parthenon has not a single straight line. The island of Delos and its ruins are also shown and mentioned in regards to its importance for Athens.

With respect to this documentary, what I would have liked is that he DVD to be a bit longer (90 minutes) and to also have covered Crete, Mycenae and Northern Greece: the Greece of Alexander the Great. Unfortunately there were no mentions of them other than Mycenae in context with Santorini, but just very briefly!

To conclude, although the video quality and panoramic views are amazing, the DVD is itself is very short at less than 45 minutes, although there are plenty of extra features included. For someone who loves Greece, for public school students learning about Greece or if you haven’t been to Greece, this is a very good and concise DVD because it shows a lot about ancient Greece and places the country and its history, culture and importance into perspective.



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