SXSW 2017 Review: BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY

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By Jan Hamilton

In a pleasant exploration of Bill Nye’s story, this documentary follows his life as it leads to the world of science.  After getting a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell, and working at Boeing, Bill found work in TV as a writer and actor.  His best known work was on the educational program Bill Nye the Science Guy from ’93 to ’98.  The 100 episodes were aimed at teaching kids a variety of topics, but it found an audience with adults also.  He has inspired a couple of generations of kids to look at science as an interesting and viable career choice.

The film covers his recent debate with Creationist Ken Ham on whether, in this age, creation is a viable model of origin.  The fact that it inspired like-minded people to increase their donations to Mr. Ham was one outcome of the match, but Bill did write a book about it 2014, and in 2016 they met again on the huge biblical Ark that Ken Ham had built as a Christian tourist attraction.  We also see Bill’s work at the Planetary Society where he is Executive Director. Although he does not have degrees the scientific subjects he discusses, such as global warming, he makes sure he has the best and most up to date information the experts in the fields can provide. He seems very devoted to his family, but lives alone.  In a world were verifiable scientific facts are treated as opinions; he continues to speak up for logic, truth and reason.  The film’s audiences will see some good interviews with scientists, most notably the personable Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The Bottom Line:  Anyone, who likes science, and loves how some very special people can make it come to life, will like this film.

Director:  David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg

Executive Producer:  Mary Rohlich

Producer:  Seth Gordon, Kate McLean, Nick Pampenella

Screenwriter: David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg

Cinematographer: David Alvarado

Editor: Annukka Lilja

Sound Designer: Peter Albrechtsen

Music: William Ryan Fritch

Principal Cast: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan, Francis Collins,

Heather Berlin , Eugenie Scott, Jim White, Michael Mann, Ken Ham, Joe Bastardi

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