By Ng Keen Yung and Peh Hui Min
Biology’s answer to this is the theory of natural selection. Nature’s vast variety of species is the culmination of millions of years of gradual adaptation to various environments. This is the topic of the latest, and the first 3D digital film to hit the Omni-Theatre, Natural Selection 3D.
Of course, you can’t just mention Natural Selection without talking about its creator, Charles Darwin, a renowned English naturalist and geologist. He published his famous text, On the Origin of Species, which explains the theory.
He wrote this book 150 years ago when he was 50. The book revolutionised biology, as it explained for the first time how species could arise (or go extinct) through purely natural causes, rather than divine acts.
The film begins by exploring the theory’s origins. It describes Charles Darwin’s famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, and also the resulting inspiration for his life’s work from their stop at the Galapagos Islands.
On the islands, Darwin noticed something rather peculiar. Although many species on the islands are similar in shape, he observed that species on each island had slight differences specific to that island. These differences were purely due to the advantages and disadvantages of the environment in which they live in.
Darwin delved deeper into his research, which eventually led to the development of the theory of Natural Selection. We are then taken through how it works. Certain physical and behavioural traits are retained purely due to a simple principle: the survival of the fittest and best-adapted to their environment.
Personally, we felt blown away by the high-quality graphics that were used to create the film. Although we had already read up on some of the subject material before going in, the film succeeded in bringing what previously seemed like a slow, dry, and intangible process to life.
Many of the scenes took full advantage of 3D effects and CGI to fully immerse us in the making of many scenes, such as the ones in the trailer, even more impressive. One scene in particular showed what would happen if a population was somehow geographically separated, using small animated cardboard circles. It seemed a bit cartoonish at first, but watching them gradually gaining, or even losing attributes in response to their environment was not only entertaining, but also clearly illustrated the concept of natural selection.
Despite this being a well-worn topic, what sets this film apart is its stunning visuals and graphics. The information is presented in a concise and simple way that can be easily understood by anyone, even young children.
This film will capture the attention of anyone watching while introducing one of the most important theories in science.
The digital movie “Natural Selection 3D” is currently showing at the Omni-Theatre Singapore from 19 Nov 2016. please click here for more information on the movie show times.
Ng Keen Yung and Peh Hui Min are JC1 students who underwent an internship at Science Centre Singapore in November 2016. They have written this blog post during their internship at SCS.