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DVD Review - Drive Thru History
July 21, 2005
The cover of this DVD proclaims, “This isn’t your typical tour of ruins and dusty artifacts. It’s history as exciting today as it was 2,000 years ago.” This is history for the modern American: fast-paced, funny and quietly educational. Did I mention that it’s also a lot of fun?
The DVD contains three episodes of what promises to be a great series:
- Episode 1: Lost in Rome, the Forum & Palatine Hill, the Emperors during the time of Christ, the Arch of Titus and the destruction of Jerusalem.
- Episode 2: The Circus Maximus, chariot racing, the great fire of Rome, Nero’s persecution of Christians and the Roman Pantheon.
- Episode 3: Hannibal invades Rome, the Colosseum, the Gladiators and the early Christian influence.
The host of Drive Thru History is Dave Stotts. He’s cool enough to be interesting, and just geeky enough to be able to discuss history and archaelogy without seeming too far out of his element. His enthusiasm is not only visible, but is also contagious. While his attempts at humor occasionally fall flat, you’ll find yourself laughing with him more than you’ll be rolling your eyes at him. Driving a Smart Car (one of those impossibly-small cars Europeans so love) he takes the viewer on a tour of Rome, showing some of the greatest testaments to Rome’s glorious past: the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, and of course, the Pantheon. He even manages to pick a fight with a Centurion outside the Colosseum (one who barely speaks English as you’ll see in the out-takes).
But this is not history simply for the sake of learning history. Woven throughout the artifacts and ruins is the story of the early church and even proof of Jesus’ Divinity. For example, Stotts spends a great deal of time providing the historical backdrop to the building of the Arch of Titus. At the end of the segment he shows some of the carvings on the Arch and we see that they depict the looting of the temple at Jerusalem by Roman soldiers. Stotts then calls us back to Jesus’ words which prophecied this very event many years before it happened. Similarly when discussing the early persecution of the church he shows that they prove Jesus resurrection since not many people would be crazy enough for something they knew to be a lie. The willingness of the early church to suffer and die for their faith proves that Jesus did die, for as Paul says, if He did not, the Christian faith is in vain.
The DVD offers plenty of worthwhile extras. There are out-takes at the end of each episode and a full audio commentary is available as well. If you have a DVD drive on your computer you’ll be able to access a helpful discussion guide.
This is a full-throttle, joyride through history, and one I highly recommend for the whole family. I noticed that the DVD is categorized as “General” and “Tween.” I am far from a tween, but enjoyed every moment of the presentation. And for future reference, I believe there are two DVDs still to come in this series: Drive Thru History: Greece and Drive Thru History: Turkey. I look forward to seeing them.
There isn’t a whole lot, but what is there is good.
Full-featured, with out-takes, audio commentary and a study guide.
A unique spin on history.
It won’t kill you to miss it, but the kids will miss out on some good “edutainment.”
The first installment in what promises to be a great series. I recommend it.
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