Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (2014)

Starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christopher Emerson, Keythe Farley


A noble effort at updating the series, an epic endeavor by Seth MacFarlane. But I just have to compare, and it’s not as good as Sagan’s original series.

The segments are a bit disorganized and disconnected, especially in the early episodes. Sagan was better at packaging things up into relevant and coherent chunks.

Commercials break the flow. Just when we’re digging into an interesting point, off we go to watch advertisements. When we get back, we have to sit through a dumbed down recap.

All the effects and animated historical sequences are fantastic, but do we really need this much lens flare?

And let’s be honest. Sagan was more eloquent. Tyson does his best to be as poetic and inspirational as Sagan, but it’s a bit heavy-handed. Every line doesn’t need to be whispery and inspirational. Tyson also does this weird eye contact thing where he’s looking away from the camera or keeping his eyes half-closed or blinking awkwardly. Sad clarinets and harps and pianos strain to make things more dramatic. Just let the man talk.

Proper reverence is given to Sagan, though. His occasional injected monologues are welcome. I wonder if the series could have been better with more of Sagan’s logical structure and more of his narration. Actually, keeping most of Sagan’s voiceover and updating it with modern special effects and the newest science by Tyson would have been the best, most loyal way to update this series, I think.

The look to the future at the end of Episode 11 was the freshest, most original content. The cosmic calendar for the next 14 billion years was particularly poignant. Would have liked to hear more about that.

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