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Wild Europe: A Reaction Paper

- Brian Robles 2011-41567

I honestly enjoyed the film. Interesting facts and beautiful effects caught my attention. I enjoyed how the film recounted Europe's changes through the ages, from the geological processes of the great moving tectonic plates, to the evolution of life and its impact on the modern planet. The film took a basic concept, the idea that the ancient past directly shapes the present, and weaved a network of ideas, theories, graphics and facts based on that idea that displayed the growth of Europe in a tone that was dramatic and quite inspirational. The film starts by merging two worlds into one. The modern world monuments are shot next to the ancient creatures and geological features that stood on the same location millions or even billions of years ago. Paris underwater. Germany on the brink of an Ice Age. Huge dinosaurs and soaring high trees populating the streets of modern cities. Truly, it's hard for me to believe that we build contemporary structures in the footprints of such alien behemoths. It explores the life of the grand continent, Europe, from its tectonic roots halfway across the globe, to its early forests and exotic species, then its searing desserts, underwater landscapes, Jurassic jungles, and bleak Ice Ages, before it finally became the continent we know today. Such a rich and dynamic history is quite difficult to grasp. I am really intrigued by the idea presented in the program that the past affects the present. The film gives concrete examples, stating how the forests living billions of years ago formed the direct basis for the coal mining craft and the industrial revolution of Europe as a whole. One by one, the film recounts not only ancient events, but their connection with the present world. The Archeopteryx had feathers and were the forefathers, the missing link, between reptiles and birds. Fertile lands of today were only made possible by the flooding and drainage of large bodies of water. Animals act and behave today directly because of the circumstances and factors surrounding their predecessors millions of years before. I've received a lot of background on the evolution of our planet, but I don't believe I've ever been exposed to such history in the kind of colorful display the film exhibited. As with any documentary on such structures, I end up feeling enlightened, knowing what the great continent Europe has passed through thousands of years ago. This information is useful for building the foundations of knowledge wherein future discoveries will stand. It can explain why modern life is how it is today. After all, the film continuously asserts that the ancient past directly affects the future. Also, I can't help feeling a bit insignificant after watching the film. In the grand scheme of things, all of us are but mere milliseconds in the history of the planet, and our planet itself is really just a drop in the bucket, fractions upon fractions of the history of space and time.