BBC Earth: Life [Blu-ray]
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Life (narrated by David Attenborough) (BD)
This enthralling BBC series examines "the lengths living beings go to to stay alive," in the words of Sir David Attenborough (Oprah Winfrey narrates the Discovery Channel version). Aided by breathtaking high-definition cinematography, the makers of Planet Earth explore the more colorful strategies the world's creatures employ to procreate, evade predators, and obtain nourishment. Cameras travel though the air, under the water, and right into the faces of insects, like the alien visage of the stalk-eyed fly. Except for "Challenges of Life" and "Hunters and Hunted," each episode covers a different category, such as mammals and birds. Among the more memorable images: three cheetahs move with the relentless rhythm of mobsters, a school of flying fish glides through the air with the grace of ballerinas, and a Jesus Christ lizard skips across the water, like, well, you know. The strangest sights range from a pebble toad bouncing away from a spider like a rubber ball and brown-tufted capuchin monkeys pounding palm nuts with stone tools like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Witty writing and skillful editing, which distills thousands of hours of footage, make the learning go down easy (at one point, Sir David references Jurassic Park, which featured his brother, Richard).
If the sound effects seem overamped, George Fenton's score is always on the money, adding humor and suspense at crucial moments (martial drums for the mud skippers, woozy brass for the Darwin's beetle). Nonetheless, delicate sensibilities may find some sequences disturbing, as when Komodo dragons feed on a water buffalo or when a leopard seal dines on a penguin (according to Attenborough, the Komodo siege caused the camera operators "emotional turmoil"). More often, the filmmakers capture the moment of impact before moving on. The set comes complete with 10 featurettes on the four-year production. --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
So why the five stars? Well, that's quite simply because what's in here is literally awesome. The footage is brilliant, the animals and plants are compelling, the science is fascinating, and Sir David Attenborough is the best there is at nature narration (sorry Oprah!). If all you've seen is the Discovery version of this show, with Oprah narrating, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the difference a pro like Attenborough can make. But regardless of the version, it's Life that's the real show. From cheetahs, to plants, to frogs, to killer whales, the plants and animals in this series do not disappoint in their ways of surviving and reproducing. Richard Dawkins wrote a recent book on evolution called "The Greatest Show on Earth". This series should be labelled the same! Nature, in all its glory, is just endlessly fascinating and amazing to watch.
Overall, this series is a perfect introduction into the world of nature documentaries. Other BBC/Attenborough series might offer more depth, breadth, and even (for some) slightly better resolution, but this DVD series still delivers a ton of fresh content that provides hours of really, really fascinating viewing. Highly recommended!
1) Narrator: UK version, by David Attenborough, while US version, by Oprah Winfrey. I personally prefer David Attenborough's skilled narration. He is perfect at describing various scenes without his voice becoming the primary focus. This round goes to UK version.
2) Video: UK version, completely 1080p except "Plants", while US version, completely 1080i. This round goes to UK version, hands down.
3) Functionality: US version is far superior in selecting episodes than UK version
4) Packaging: Covers for US version are more busy, but in the end, it depends on your own personal taste.
For me, 1080p and the very comforting voice of David Attenborough made my purchase of the UK version a very easy decision. Since I watch each episode completely each time around, I do not mind the less superior functionality of the UK version. The front cover is no issue to me.
Contents: From the BBC Earth series, Planet Earth in 2006 brought us the world as we've never seen before. Now we get closer with Life. As stated on the package, four years in the making, filmed over 3000 days, across every continent and in every habitat, with breathtaking new high definition filming techniques developed since Planet Earth, Life presents 130 incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world, housed in 4 BD-50 discs. The topics included (1) Challenges of Life, (2) Reptiles and Amphibians, (3) Mammals, (4) Fish, (5) Birds, (6) Insects, (7) Hunters and Hunted, (8) Creatures of the Deep, (9) Plants, and (10) Primates. It was truly a totally enjoyable and learning experience. Like a good book, one can watch it continuously to the end.Read more ›
No one is even close to BBC's Natural History Team's dedication, cinematography and expertise when it comes to Nature & Wildlife filming. The team that gave us The Blue Planet (2001) & Planet Earth (2006) return to us with perhaps their most daunting adventure. If you thought they couldn't top Planet Earth's filming & beautiful orchestras, well they did exactly that. Approximately 3,000 hours of shooting with specialized slow motion cameras specifically designed for the task, transform on the screen to some of the most magical footage I have ever witnessed on my television.
1080p video is simply spectacular. There is only one word to describe it. Some of the close up shots of little insects and coral reefs are so vividly coloured that it made me wonder, is this really true? Or BBC's Cg team has done some marvellous work and they are marketing it as a Nature Documentary. There are some shots under the water, which suffer a little and appear to be soft. But that's understandable given that chasing "The Heat Run" of Killer Whales was considered impossible before this video.
If I didn't like one thing about Planet Earth, it was the lack of HD Audio. Well BBC certainly went on to fix that in this series. DTSHD-MA audio is as filling as the video. The channels are very perfectly balanced and LFE/Subwoofer kicks in precisely when it needs to add the extra punch. Narration is fully dedicated to centre channel with David Attenborough's soothing voice giving it the final touch.
A lot has been said about the two different versions of this documentary available in US & Canada. The discovery channel version is narrated by Oprah Winfrey while the original BBC version (this one) is narrated by David Attenborough.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
We use this for homeschooling, and my children watch it over and over again. The videography is amazing!Published 2 months ago by Tasha P. Miller
This series is amazing to watch, and one always wonders just how the crew managed to capture such unique shots. Insightful and entertaining.Published 8 months ago by valegolo
These documentaries narrated by David are the best in their class. Have nearly all of themPublished 8 months ago by Diento