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Mankind: The Story of All of Us Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Runtime: 552 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: A&E Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:2.5/5]

From the same people behind The History Channel’s America: The Story of Us, comes this mini-series, Mankind: The Story of All of US. Just like its predecessor, unfortunately, Mankind fails miserably at living up to the potential of the grandeur of its title. In America: The Story of Us, the producers somehow managed to skip right over The War of 1812 and World War I, to name just two glaring flaws. In this even more arduous task, a history of humanity, they take an even more skewed tack. Starting out with promise, humanity’s beginning as hunter-gatherers in Africa, the series very rapidly degrades into a Eurocentric telling of only certain “major” events in the course of humanity, with passing reference given to China and Japan, Africa, or even the many indigenous peoples around the world, including those in North and South America. India gets mention mainly because it happens to have the Taj Mahal, because, you know, nothing else worthy ever happened there. For shame, History Channel. But it doesn’t stop there. The series’ examination of religion goes as far as to mention the rise of Christianity and waning of pagan religions, but totally bypasses any explanation of Judaism other than when mentioning the Jews as scapegoats during the outbreak of plague in Europe in the Middle Ages. Speaking of bubonic plague, although it started in Asia and killed many people there as well – as the series mentions – the main focus of the series’ portion on this outbreak is, you guessed it, Europe. Islam is not explored as a religion either, other than in the context of the Crusades or the Spanish struggle to throw the Moors out of Spain, or the Ottoman conquerors of Constantinople. Even in this Eurocentric view of world history Europe gets the shaft, because there is hardly any detail given of the various monarchs or the numerous wars (War of the Roses, Hundred Years War). There’s no mention of Alexander the Great or even Julius Caesar, despite lengthy discussion of Rome. I could go on at length, but I think you get the drift. Numerous “experts” like news anchor Brian Williams and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain are brought in to offer their “essential” insights without whom I really don’t know how much less insightful this series would have been, honestly.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The series is culled from multiple sources and uses a variety of visual effects. These don’t always add up to the best of results and, in fact, there is a lot of banding, posterization, and even some haloing that can be spotted throughout the series. Even in the absolute cleanest high definition sequences, there is some video noise and softness of detail.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

A lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is provided absent any subtitles of any sort, even for those hearing impaired amongst “all of us.” While it provides a rather clear and full presentation of Josh Brolin’s narration in the center channel, for the most part it falls short of being anything too exiting or engulfing in comparison to, say, an IMAX exhibition 5.1 mix from Image Entertainment or similar. There are some atmospheric effects that are panned around and ambience spread through the room, things are well balanced, but it lacks punch.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Additional looks at the stops along humanity’s journey are included in these additional segments.

  • Bonus (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
    • Domesticating the Dog
    • Building the Pyramids
    • Fire
    • The Ice Age
    • Birth of Farming
    • The Earliest Humans
    • Rise of the Incas
    • Taming the Horse
    • The Plague
    • Genghis Kahn

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Even with Josh Brolin’s decent narration that sort of makes you want to keep listening at least, and the fine production values, this “history” of all of us is no more than a popcorn study of the past. With more holes than a log of Swiss cheese at a shooting gallery, Mankind: The Story of All of Us would have been better left in more capable hands.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase From BestBuy.com:
Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us (3 Disc) - 3 Pack - Blu-ray Disc

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Purchase Mankind: The Story of All of Us on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B00A28P7YY[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B009LA1QYE[/amazon-product]

Purchase From BestBuy.com:
Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us (3 Disc) - 3 Pack - Blu-ray Disc

Mankind The Story of All of Us - Mankind The Story of All of Us

Purchase Mankind: The Story of All of Us on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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