Saturday, April 05, 2008

Life after people

What would happen to the planet if every human being was suddenly gone? That's the premise of the History Channel 2 hour special Life After People. The film assembles experts to discuss what the evolution fo the planet would be with no humans on the planet including the way our buildings, cars, food, and even electric power changes after we're gone. I was convinced this is just a fun fantasy film but some scientists are convinced this will happen at some point. We will be gone and some other animal will evolve to take our place at the top of the food chain.

The film starts with the day after we're gone and continues to 200 years and even jumps ahead 10,000 years. Through a mix of interviews, live action representations, and CGI the creators show the changes in animal life, and even the literal decomposition of buildings and vehicles. The film quite fascinatingly considers the pyramids and the Sphinx as examples of what the future holds for our own buildings and other constructs. The CGI brings the whole idea of how nature grows up and consumes, and even destroys everything we would leave behind. What was really surprising to me was just how long the Hoover Dam would continue to function providing power without us around to run things.

Here's the problem, as interesting as this film it, it's still a History Channel special so it has that sort of dry History Channel feeling. By the halfway point I was starting to feel like the film was running to long. This is a real challenge though because I can't tell you how to do a special like this and make it hip. Maybe they need to bring in some guys from MTV/VH1 to produce a special and see how it comes out. Don't get me wrong though, for a History Channel film this is one of the best I've seen. I really liked the suspenseful atmosphere the creators build with the days after life cards that start each segment of the film.

At the end of the day there's a lot to learn here about how we build things and how we effect our environment so I believe just for that it's worth a watch. Also the CGI imagining of what will happen is pretty interesting and it will keep your attention, at least for a while. Also, with the writers strike happening this will probably be the best thing on TV the night it premieres.

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