The Mystery of Easter Island (2012)
This 52-minute documentary by Nova National Geographic explores two of the many controversial questions about Easter Island in the south Pacific Ocean — so named for the Dutch who landed there in 1722 on Easter morning and were the islanders' first contact with westerners. By 1877 numerous factors had precipitated cultural collapse and only 110 people remained on the totally deforested island. The island is remarkably isolated, 1300 miles from the nearest inhabited land (Pitcairn). So, what caused the cultural collapse? The film also considers the many questions about the 887 stone statues or "moai" that were carved out of a quarry of volcanic rock with stone tools. How and why did the Polynesians carve them? How did they move the monsters that were as high as 32 feet and weighed 80 tons from the quarry to their neatly aligned pedestals? Archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo run an experiment with volunteers to test their hypothesis about how the moai were rocked back and forth along roads. This film would make for excellent family viewing.