An epic story of cosmic, earth, and human transformation.
Journey of the Universe is a very quick hour of programming. As co-writer and host Brian Thomas Swimme walks around the Greek island of Samos, he tells us the story of the universe. His obvious passion for the material is what keeps viewers engaged; the birth of the universe, the human genome, and the interconnectedness of life being some of the issues he touches upon.
The focus takes an eco-awareness turn towards the end, which some may find off putting. Swimme discusses how our species is the dominant species on Earth and how that should include the reality of what our presence has done to the planet, both good and bad.
If anything, Journey of the Universe feels too short. It’s as if this were merely the first episode of a much longer series, one which introduces the theses we’ll be exploring over the next however many odd hours.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite clean and I have to give credit to cinematographer Ian Salvage, as the night shots hold up especially well. There is no obfuscation to speak of and the overall palette is neutral yet crisp. Of the two audio options (5.1, 2.0) the stereo would have sufficed, so the surround track feels like somewhat of a treat. There are no bonus features.
Journey of the Universe is the rare documentary for which the host gets credit for my recommendation. While the topics covered are interesting, I found the experience to be too brief, and yet Swimme’s enthusiasm drew me in. It not only kept me entertained, but made me want to learn more.