Science of the Movies

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Science of the Movies TV Poster Image
Fun but jargon-heavy peek behind your favorite film scenes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The host does a good job explaining technical lingo in a way that average viewers can understand. The show encourages learning and curiosity by investigating the science behind the cutting-edge technology used in filmmaking and explaining how the same technology is used in other fields.  


Some film clips include scenes of laser battles and weapon use, but there’s no injury or bloodshed. 


No marketing, but lots of movie titles -- like Terminator 3 -- are mentioned during interviews with the people who worked on them.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while there's no iffy content in this investigative series about the secrets behind movie visual effects, the technical subject matter is pretty advanced even for today's tech-savvy kids. While the host does a good enough job of translating computer jargon into layman's terms that tweens will get something out of the show, the series is clearly aimed at grown-up movie buffs.

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What's the story?

SCIENCE OF THE MOVIES peels back the computer-chip layers on big-screen visual effects, showing curious viewers how industry pros make movie magic happen. Host and self-proclaimed movie geek Nar Williams goes behind the scenes with the artists and technicians responsible for effects in films like The Matrix and The Dark Knight to learn how they transform their visions into virtual reality. From the groundbreaking motion control used to take out the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to the cutting-edge CGI effects that wow viewers today in movies like Spider-Man, Williams gets hands-on with the technology and turns the spotlight on the people whose skills make the films possible.

Is it any good?

Remember the look on Charlie's face when he steps into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and gets the OK to taste and touch to his heart's content? Well for film junkie Williams, no oversized gummy bear could compare to the joy of operating Milo -- the world's most precise motion control system -- or playing with the miniatures used to cast Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. His excitement about the subject matter is the catalyst that makes the show's content both interesting and comprehensible for the average, non-technically savvy viewer.

So if you're a grown-up who's ever wondered how Hollywood puts on such a good show, then Science of the Movies is for you. Young kids will probably be bored, but if your tweens and teens take an interest, don't hesitate to grab a bowl of popcorn and tune in with them, since the show celebrates the combination of science and human imagination -- and might just spark theirs in the process.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about science and technology. Are they always as interesting and exciting as a show like this makes them seem? Does seeing a show like this make you more or less interested in science overall? What major scientific breakthroughs do you think could happen in your lifetime? Do science and scientific experimentation have any limits? If so, what are they?

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