NOVA Life’s Greatest Miracle, a Documentary Film Review
“Life’s Greatest Miracle” is a documentary about the development of life and how man’s biological make-up is able to reproduce itself. The discussion starts with the role of DNA in the process of reproduction. It is crucial because it holds the chromosomes that give each human unique physical trait. The combination of genes starts through the process of meiosis wherein the male and female makes sperms and eggs. The presentation then explains the inside of the male and female reproductive system and how both are different from each other. I.e. Male sperm are more on the quantity than quality while female eggs value quality. The union of the two sets of chromosome from the male and female allows a merger of new unique sets of traits. This makes up for the individuality and uniqueness of a person which is quite different from “clones.” We are not the exact replica of our parents.
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The process of sexual reproduction was analyzed and discussed from an overview of the tentacles and the journey of the sperm to the vagina till it reaches the egg. And on the way the female reproductive system is set up that the process of the fertilization itself becomes a tricky business. The process is indeed fascinating because at the start the narrator tells as a matter of fact that the human body has the unquestionable urge to reproduce itself, but at the same time explains how complicated and delicate the entire process is. One ‘mistake’ from the egg and the sperm and there would be no union or meeting of egg and sperm.
The development of a fertilized egg is such wonder. Through this tiny single cell, it is powerful and capable enough to produce various organs in its own life system in just a span of nine months! The fertilized egg reproduces itself to form and multiply until each cell further develops into specific parts of the body—brain, blood, veins, foot, neck, eye, and other organs that completes the human body.
The documentary was able to explain in simple language and in a fun and engaging manner the concept and the process of reproduction while still keeping the scientific nature of the reproduction process. It uses allegories and fun facts that make the documentary capture the attention of the audience. Though this is the case, it did not lose its ‘scientific quality’ and was able to effectively explain in detail the entire process. From the genetic and molecular make-up of the body, to the physiology, to the details and every stage of the reproduction process, down to the development of an embryo and to the miracle of a new life, the narrative was in a chronological order that explains each process effectively and in a very straightforward manner. It was able to establish the interdependency and the importance of the male and female reproductive system in creating new life. With all the scientific facts and detailed explanation of the process, it is still quite impossible how our biological structure is ‘wired’ in such synchronism to be able to reproduce unique individuals each time a woman give birth. It is truly a miracle of life.
The documentary also made use of real-life example that adds another interesting part of the discussion. It not only demonstrates and explains the process with the actual visualization, but also made use of interesting analogy to simplify the discussion, for me, it was the most powerful part of the presentation.