DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Accidental Inventions
Accidental Inventions
Jumby Bay Studios // G // April 5, 2004
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 18, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

Serendipity plays a large role in scientific discovery.  From Archimedes getting into a bath and discovering the principle that bears his name to Alexander Fleming's noticing that a speck of mold on an old culture plate killed Staphylococcus bacteria many scientific advances have been the result of accidents.  In Accidental Inventions, a DVD that feels like it was intended for use in schools, 10 inventions that were stumbled upon by accident are discussed and explained.

This disc retells some interesting stories of discovery.  There's the tale of how Teflon was accidentally synthesized in a lab and then used in making the first atomic bombs before it was ever utilized on the inside of a pan, how a melted chocolate bar near a piece of radar equipment led to the first microwave ovens, and how it was discovered that Superglue could be used to reveal fingerprints.

My favorite story concerns the discovery of dynamite.  Alfred Noble was trying to make the very fragile and explosive compound nitroglycerine more stable when he dropped a tube of the substance.  He figured that he was dead, but instead of exploding the liquid was absorbed by some sawdust that was lying on the floor.  This inspired him to mix the explosive with another substance as a stabilizing agent.  He eventually settled on mixing it with diatomaceous earth which gave a blend that was more powerful than black powder yet very stable.  Of course this made him very wealthy and he used part of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes.

The accounts given here are fairly accurate.  I only noticed one error and that was minor.  (The show claims that the creator of Post-it Notes gave prototypes to executives at 3M and they agreed to manufacture the product.  Actually, they turned him down so he gave samples to their secretaries.  When the secretaries asked for more, he told them to ask their bosses.)  These short segments are nice and succinct and would be perfect for classroom use.  Even children with the shortest attention spans would be able to watch one of these without growing bored.

As for a documentary, I was hoping for a little more information.  While this does hit the highlights of each invention, there isn't any depth.  I would have liked to see expanded versions that explore the subject a little more fully.

The inventions examined on this disc are:

The Microwave Oven
Post-It Notes
Ether Anesthesia
Stainless Steel
Matches
Teflon
Super Glue Fuming
Cellophane
Dynamite
Velcro

The DVD:



Audio:

The stereo English soundtrack fits the show well.  The narration and dialog sounds fine.

Video:

Like the soundtrack, the full frame video image looks good but mot exceptional. There's a little aliasing and some slight blocking, but nothing major.  It fits the show well.

Extras:

This disc has an "Invention Quiz" that presents the viewer with 10 questions about the show they've just seen.  If they get 80% or more right, a coupon for $5 off the next purchase from the publisher's web page (vat19.com) is given.  I received an error message when I tried to enter my coupon code, but I'm sure that's a temporary glitch.

The biggest bonus item is rather hidden.  Some, but not all, of the inventions have bonus scenes that cover material tangentially related to the topic covered.   The problem is they are not listed in a bonus section of the disc and you have to go down two menu levels to find them.  These are interesting but they should have made them more accessible.

There are also a series of teacher's guides in .pdf format accessible with a computer equipped with a DVD-ROM drive.

Final Thoughts:

This would be a great DVD for school libraries to have.  The topics are interesting and might spur young minds to search out more information.  As a stand along documentary, it's not that great however.  Each invention only gets a few minutes and the treatment is rather superficial.  Even so, this was a fun way to spend an hour or so and is worth a rental.
 

Popular Reviews
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
2. Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
3. Doctor Who: Season 8
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Kroll Show: Seasons One & Two
6. Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Seven
7. Into the Woods (The Original Broadway Production)
8. As Above, So Below
9. The Equalizer (2014)
10. The Emerald Forest


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use