Film Reviews

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking (2010)Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking (2010)

           The title of this Discovery Channel television mini-series is slightly misleading in that the Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking doesn't do much more than appear in short cameos to introduce successive sections of the show. The mini-series is composed of three episodes: Aliens (43 minutes), Time Travel (43 minutes), and then The Story of Everything (1:43). Benedict Cumberbatch actually narrates all three episodes, which consist almost entirely of computer animated graphics. The provocative episode titles allow the script to explore basic concepts of cosmology like space, time, worm holes, black holes, gravity, matter, anti-matter, the big bang, and so on. Because so much of the cosmos remains a mystery to our best scientists, there's an unending stream of "mights" and "maybes." The series concludes with what Hawking calls "the ultimate mystery" of why the universe ever existed at all. The best they can do is to compare it to an accident like winning the cosmic lottery. I watched the three episodes on Netflix streaming.