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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Politics > Drama > Galileo's Battle For The Heavens (Nova)

Galileo’s Battle For The Heavens (Nova)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episode: B



At a time when certain political forces are trying to trash science and any other types of free through, the story of Galileo and his lifelong battle for scientific facts becomes more poignant and valuable than ever.  The two-hour Nova show (twice the usual length, because it deserves to be) Galileo’s Battle For The Heavens is based on Dava Sobel’s book Galileo’s Daughter and tells the story of how his illegitimate daughter helped him write a book that rewrote history and challenged the political powers (religious and governmental) that be.


With interviews, documents and factual narration, joined by well-placed dramatizations, the program is always involving, often feeling like history repeating itself when recent events are considered.  Cheers to David Axelrod and all the people involved in bringing to life this more-vital-than-ever history that was originally produced back in 2002.  Of course Galileo went on to build groundbreaking telescopes, create landmark theories (many of which turned out to be correct) and made him one of the greatest men that ever lived.  This is fine tribute indeed.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 image was shot in digital High Definition, but is sadly not anamorphically enhanced.  Still, the way it is shot is appealing and the reenactments of Galileo himself (actor Simon Callow) are not bad, though history out of context seems to make everyone laugh, so you can have unintended giggles if you loose track.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is simple and has no major surrounds, with solid narration by Liev Schreiber.  Extras are the usual weblink and DVD-ROM printable educational materials.


Knowing the world as it really is and not from dogma is more important than ever, especially in The Free World, as some in that world act like it is not such a world that being as restrictive as The Taliban is the price for battling them and their supporters.  That gives the title of this program new meaning it did not even have a few years ago when it was first finished.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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