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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Collapse [Blu-ray]


(Producer/Director/Writer Noel Dockstader, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: National Geographic Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:02:49.153

Disc Size: 24,109,212,679 bytes

Feature Size: 20,733,369,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 21st, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), none



• Treasure Seekers - Lost City of the Incas (52:40 in SD)





Description: How could a civilization that mastered the planet suddenly Collapse? Inspired by the New York Times best-selling book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed", NGC time travels 200 years into the future to see what the world would look like after civilization as we know it collapsed. Guided by author Jared Diamond, we'll piece together the remarkable story of what on earth triggered our decline.


Setting out in search of Vilcabamba, a hidden jungle city built in one of the more remote and inaccessible regions of the Inca Empire, Hiram Bingham stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century—the magnificent ruins of Macchu Picchu which opened up the glories of the Inca civilization to the entire world.



On the Book (from Wikipedia HERE):

Tim Flannery gave Collapse the highest praise in Science, writing:

... the fact that one of the world's most original thinkers has chosen to pen this mammoth work when his career is at his apogee is itself a persuasive argument that Collapse must be taken seriously. It is probably the most important book you will ever read.

The Economist's review was generally favorable, although the reviewer had two disagreements. First, the reviewer felt Diamond was not optimistic enough about the future. Secondly, the reviewer claimed Collapse contains some erroneous statistics: for instance, Diamond supposedly overstated the number of starving people in the world.

University of British Columbia professor of ecological planning William Rees wrote that Collapse's most important lesson is that societies most able to avoid collapse are the ones that are most agile; they are able to adopt practices favorable to their own survival and avoid unfavorable ones. Moreover, Rees wrote that Collapse is "a necessary antidote" to followers of Julian Simon, such as Bjørn Lomborg who authored The Skeptical Environmentalist. Rees explained this assertion as follows:

Human behaviour towards the ecosphere has become dysfunctional and now arguably threatens our own long-term security. The real problem is that the modern world remains in the sway of a dangerously illusory cultural myth. Like Lomborg, most governments and international agencies seem to believe that the human enterprise is somehow 'decoupling' from the environment, and so is poised for unlimited expansion. Jared Diamond's new book, Collapse, confronts this contradiction head-on.

In a recent edition of Energy and Environment, Jennifer Marohasy of the Institute of Public Affairs has a critical review of Collapse, in particular its chapter on Australia’s environmental degradation. Marohasy claims that Diamond reflects a popular view that is reinforced by environmental campaigning in Australia, but which is not supported by evidence, and argues that many of his claims are easily disproved.

In his review in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell highlights the way in which Diamond's approach differs from traditional historians by focusing on environmental issues rather than cultural questions.

Diamond’s distinction between social and biological survival is a critical one, because too often we blur the two, or assume that biological survival is contingent on the strength of our civilizational values... The fact is, though, that we can be law-abiding and peace-loving and tolerant and inventive and committed to freedom and true to our own values and still behave in ways that are biologically suicidal.

While Diamond doesn't reject the approach of traditional historians, his book, according to Gladwell, vividly illustrates the limitations of that approach. Gladwell demonstrates this with his own example of a recent ballot initiative in Oregon, where questions of property rights and other freedoms were subject to a free and healthy debate, but serious ecological questions were given scant attention.

In 2006 the book was shortlisted for The Aventis Prizes for Science Books award, eventually losing out to David Bodanis' Electric Universe.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Like a few National G. digital presentations I've seen - this is also interlaced (1080i). This is compounded by the fact the cinematography and effects look downright amazing and would be so much better in-motion if not for the 'combing' effect produced. This is probably: a) the technical manner it was shot (in HD) and/or b) the exact way it was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel (premiere: September 18th, 2010). Dependant on your system it can still be very impressive with vast sky and desert vistas as well as under water photography. Almost exclusively shot in daylight it is bright and clean with no digital noise, other than the artifacts of the interlacing as a strong negative. This Blu-ray might even be worthy to play when less-HD-discerning friends come over - certainly the topic of Collapse is a great conversation starter and many people will view these visuals open-mouthed.















Audio :

No lossless and the Dolby Digital 5.1 could have used some further bass punch here and there. It's consistent and clear - mostly audio coming from the front - devoid of notable depth or range. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

There is only one extra - another National Geographic Special - Treasure Seekers - Lost City of the Incas running 52-minutes in SD. While it doesn't relate much to Collapse - it is very interesting. It's about Hiram Bingham's discovery of the ruins of Macchu Picchu which opened up the glories of the Inca civilization to the entire world. Lots of history and one of the great finds of all time.


Since Jared Diamond was part of the production (as well as writing the book) - I would have thought, at least, a supplemental interview would have been appropriate.



I may have simply been in the mood for this - but I found it reasonably interesting. I was expecting to be preached to - but that wasn't really the case. Looking at circumstance from a historical perspective can be very illuminating... and frequently proves accurate. I haven't read Jared Diamond's book (and I feel I should) but expect that the National Geographic has done a faithful job of representing it, as well as one can in 2-hour video interpretation. It certainly opened-up my eyes to many details of our existence. While still impressive visually I'm not endorsing the Blu-ray for either audio or video - it is a bit infuriating it isn't progressive but as I said - it may be the way it was produced. I doubt we're going to see it looking any better though and the inclusion of the 50-minute Treasure Seekers - Lost City of the Incas (albeit in SD) seems to support that a purchase is worthwhile. 

Gary Tooze

September 16th, 2010



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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