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Pop Omnivore

John Carter Would Probably Need a Shirt on Mars

Disney’s movie John Carter is a wild interplanetary tale about a Civil War veteran who ends up on Mars. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society and author of The Case for Mars, was inspired by stories of John Carter to become an astronomical engineer, so we asked him to assess the movie’s depiction of life on Mars…

‘Saving Face,’ the Oscar-Winning Documentary, Has Its TV Premiere

Saving Face, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, highlights the issue of acid attacks against women in Pakistan. About 150 cases are reported each year in that country, which is one of a dozen or so to experience this form of violence. But incidents are likely underreported…

Real-Life Lorax Has a Few Words From (and About) Trees

The movie version of the Dr. Seuss’s classic conservation story The Lorax tells the story of the tree-loving Lorax, who used to say, “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” It turns out National Geographic has its own Lorax: Meg Lowman, an NG grantee and director of the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is currently working to conserve forests in Ethiopia…

Women Hold Up Half the Sky—and Some Amazing Films

This weekend, National Geographic’s All Roads Film Project presents the film series, Women Hold Up Half the Sky, notable films by award-winning female directors, screening at NG headquarters in Washington, D.C. Here are previews of three of the films, “My Wedding and Other Secrets,” “Here I Am,” and “A Small Act.”

Why Movies Like Oscar-Winning ‘Undefeated’ Make Grown Men (and Women) Cry

The newly minted Oscar winner for best documentary, Undefeated, has left many critics gushing—with praise, but also tears. The true-life sports tale follows a struggling high school football team in a poor area of Memphis, Tennessee, whose fortunes begin to turn under the guidance of a devoted and determined coach. The emotional story has reduced…

Valley of Saints: Finding The Beauty In Kashmir

Among the winners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Valley of Saints, an environmental drama that casts light on the toll that human habitation and tourism have taken on Kashmir’s lovely Dal Lake. The plot centers around a boatman named Gulzar and his best friend, who are planning to run away from the conflict…

Equine Emotions in “War Horse”

The plot of the new movie War Horse is driven by the deep, powerful bond between a boy named Albert and his horse, Joey, who both end up serving in World War I. Watching it made us wonder: What do we really know about horses’ emotions? Carissa Wickens, an assistant professor in equine science at the University of Delaware, provides answers…

The Big Year: A Birder’s View

By Mel White Word got out months ago that a movie was in the works based on the book The Big Year, which recounts the true exploits of three birdwatchers competing to find the highest number of species in North America in a single calendar year. This wasn’t some made-for-TV cheapie destined for an obscure…

A Dolphin Tale: The Real-Life Rescue Behind the Movie

The popular new movie Dolphin Tale tells the touching story of a young dolphin named Winter who loses her tail and survives with a prosthetic one. It’s based on a true story—Winter plays herself—but some parts were fictionalized to make it more appealing to young viewers. Which parts? To find out, we contacted one of Winter’s real-life rescuers,
Teresa Mazza from the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

David Attenborough Takes On Flying Monsters

Join Sir David Attenborough for a LIVE interview on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation: Science Friday” today, September 30 at 2 pm ET. Attenborough and host Ira Flatow will discuss the North American launch of “Flying Monsters 3D,” recent findings surrounding pterosaurs, and Sir David’s illustrious career. In the meantime, watch the trailer, read a Q&A, and see photos from the film.

Cowboys, Aliens, and Chiricahua Apaches

Set in 1873, the summer blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens follows an outlaw (Daniel Craig), a cattle baron (Harrison Ford), and an Apache chief (Raoul Trujillo) as they fight a technologically superior foe from a foreign world. Filmed largely on location in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico, the film features breathtaking desert landscapes, gun-toting cowboys, and…

Science Behind “Planet of the Apes” Virus

Could something like the plot of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes really happen? To find out, we spoke with Luis P. Villarreal, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at the School of Biological Sciences at University of California, Irvine, and director for the Center for Virus Research, about gene therapy, how viruses can be helpful, and why we probably won’t be battling hyper-intelligent apes anytime soon.

Why ‘The Zookeeper’ Shouldn’t Listen to Animal Advice About Love

In the new film Zookeeper, Kevin James stars as a bumbling zookeeper who seeks relationship advice from his closest friends—the animals. Different animals at the zoo take turns giving their view on how to get the girl. But do these cinematic animals know what they’re talking about? We talked to biologists to get the truth about animal mating. Here’s a look at the animals’ advice in the movie, and whether or not it holds up:

Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Proper Pets?

Families are flocking to Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which grossed $18.2 million in its opening weekend. The film, based loosely on a 1930s children’s book by Richard and Florence Atwater, stars Jim Carrey as Tom Popper, a businessman whose life is thrown off course when he receives six Gentoo penguins in the mail. He hates them…

In Cod We Trust

Scoff not at the cod with its whiskered chin, its wide-eyed look of perpetual surprise, its mottled brown sides the color of North Sea Crude. There are homelier fish, to be sure, but looks aren’t everything. Dried to leathery hardness, reconstituted by soaking in water for three days, simmered in a pot for three or…