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Category:    Home > Reviews > Special Interest > Philosophy > Myth > Mythology > Art > Documentary > Oceans > Nature > Ecosystems > Sea Li > Joseph Campbell & The Power Of Myth with Bill Moyers: 25th Anniversary Edition (1988 expanded edition/Athena/Acorn DVD Set)/Undersea Edens (2008/Smithsonian/Inception DVD)

Joseph Campbell & The Power Of Myth: 25th Anniversary Edition (1988 expanded edition/Athena/Acorn DVD Set)/Undersea Edens (2008/Smithsonian/Inception DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: B+/D     Episodes: B



Now for some fine special interest releases…



Joseph Campbell & The Power Of Myth: 25th Anniversary Edition (1988) is an expanded edition of the popular and best selling Athena/Acorn DVD Set we reviewed in its original DVD release at this link:




Of several sets Athena has now issued, this is still the main documentary mini-series that put Campbell’s work and thinking on the map and makes for a nice upgrade.  This is in the way of extras.  The previous set offered the then a newly released and rarely seen interview with Campbell from Moyers’ journal, selected excerpts from Moyers’ interviews with George Lucas, profiles of some of Campbell’s biggest influences (James Frazer, Adolf Bastian, and Otto Rank) and a 12-page viewer’s guide with profiles of artists influenced by Campbell.  This upgraded edition adds new introductions by Moyers for all six episodes and if you get the paperboard slipcase, the artwork has silver mirror ink and a darker variant of the original cover.


This is now the version to own and goes great with other releases in the series.  As I have noted before in my coverage of the other releases, I find this good and interesting, but am not as much a fan as others have been, but it is important work in the field and will continue to be commercially and critically popular for decades to come if not longer.  With The Hobbit doing so well, it will only increase interest in this release.


For more on Campbell, try these Athena/Acorn companion DVD releases we reviewed at the following links:


A Hero’s Journey + Sukhavati



Mythos – The Complete Series




In the meantime, we have another fine offering from the Smithsonian Channel in the documentary mini-series Undersea Edens (2008) which takes us to some remarkable underwater scenes worthy of other such releases from the BBC, IMAX, Nova/WGBH, The Discovery Channel, History Channel, A&E and Disney that has thankfully made this a subgenre of the increasingly visible water and nature documentary movement and that does not even include works on how pollution, environmental disaster sans the like are threatening such priceless life.


The episodes here include Coral Kingdoms, Desert To Reef, The Frozen Isle, The Majestic South, Predators Paradise and Rainforests To Reef.  Each show is very watchable, rewatchable and very well done, making for a show that too many people missed in its initial broadcast and that is more than overdue for rediscovery.  I really enjoy how well these shows are done and you will too.  If you are hesitant, give it a chance; you will not be disappointed.


There are no extras, but you can look up ocean on our search engine and see more such titles on DVD and Blu-ray.



The 1.33 X 1 on Campbell is from the original analog NTSC videotape and can look a bit soft, but also has nicely transferred film footage at times and is likely not going to look much better than it does here.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image in Edens is an HD shoot on all episodes and looks good for the format, but has a little more softness than I would have liked, but we have seen Blu-rays from Smithsonian before and expect they would perform better.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in both cases sounds just fine, though Campbell has a little more sound range overall via its focused interview recording that is not too compressed and not being a travelogue-type audio presentation where new audio competes with any location audio they could fit.  I wish Edens had a 5.1 option.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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