When you see the words "Beautiful Planet" - they evoke images that we've stored in our memory of the beauty reflected in the unique topography of the planet we all inhabit - and that we call planet earth. Whether it's a beautiful photo rendered in a magazine, or a high definition 1080p television picture from a documentary series like the BBC'sPlanet Earth: The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray], the images touch us in a unique way, and stir our emotions. The only emotions that "Beautiful Planet - Spain & Portugal" Blu-ray stirred within me - made me want to turn it off. I was indifferent and bored.
Perhaps those of us who have seen a David Attenborough narrated BBC documentary have been spoiled (Life (David Attenborough-Narrated Version) [Blu-ray]). The production values that we appreciate in the Beeb's HD blu-ray offerings are completely absent here. While the camera work is a little more interesting and varied compared to "Blue Planet - France & Italy," the films failed to capture the stunning views and vistas that any visitor to either country knows, is waiting just around the corner.
The Spanish film smartly starts in Barcelona, but fails to reflect the vibrant and beautiful nature of the people, the food, and the incredibly unique architecture found throughout the city. The Portugal film starts in the northern city of Guimarães, which is historically important in the country's history. Because of the below par production values, and very average images, you will find yourself wondering why anyone would want to visit such a sleepy place. (If you get a chance to visit Guimarães go! You will find a gorgeous small European town!).
Whoever wrote the narrative to these films, and whoever hired the voice talent, should be fired. Even if the images aren't the greatest, the narrative has the potential to improve the viewing. The producer chose non-native english speakers who speak in a monotone, and don't know how to pronounce many of the words in the script. About 28 minutes into the Portugal script you'll hear the narrator say "harbinger" and she says it like it rhymes with zinger. The script of each film (just like the France and Italy films) are overly obsessed with door jambs, and trivial details, that will not make you want to visit these two beautiful countries, and that's a shame.
Save your money for a real trip to Spain and Portugal, as that will be far more enriching than these boring and visually unexciting travelogues. Spain and Portugal are beautiful countries, with lots to offer any visitor. The only thing that's beautiful about these two Blu-ray films, is the fact that you can switch them off to preserve the beautiful memories preserved in your mind.