This 2-DVD set with four 50-minute episodes, brings you up close with the people, culture, and landscape of four difficult but harsh living places in the world. Who has the stamina and courage to make it their home? The presenter, Donal MacIntyre, gives it a try in each instance. He provides us via film a comfortable view from our living room of some of most difficult ways of surviving that yet exist on this planet. It makes you feel appreciative of what you have.
The scenery is magnificent, as expected from a Discovery Channel telecast. The people are quite different than any I had hear about. It
was an educational experience and an enjoyable learning time. It's a chance to see places in the world that your probably do not want to visit for yourself.
While Donal MacIntyre is entertaining, he is a bit on the extreme himself. He reminds me of Heraldo Rivera with the over-done dramatics. He also resembles the famous crocodile hunter with his exaggerated fear-factor attempts to survive nature. But in reality, for the educated and observant, he has to have a back-up crew filming his "death defying antics." As one native assured him while in a canoe, "No worries, mate." Aside from too much heavy breathing, and sudden gestures at things unseen, the narrator is great to provide the accounts of these four communities on the "EDGE OF EXISTENCE."
MacIntyre apparently appreciates cockroaches about as well as Indiana Jones likes snakes. That and other instances, provide some humor to the difficult ways of living that Donal encounters while visiting the out-of-the way small bands of civilization. One general factor that carries through each of the four harsh living locations is the family devotion, hospitality, and sense of community. That's similar to what is often found in USA locations immediately after a natural disaster.
Episode #1, "Oman", deals with a family that live in the desert, subsist on dates, coffee, and the occasional goat. They also raise racing camels. Donal tries it all, to more or less success.
....Episode #2, "Papua New Guinea", visits a former cannibal group known as the "Insect Tribe" in the rainforest who live on the river, fish, and hunt wild boar and crocodiles. Again MacIntyre tackles the way of the natives.
....Episode #3, "Bolivia", is high, on a salt flat, cold, and short on oxygen for Donal to test himself with this people group. He also gets involved in a bit of violence in a religious event. Sadly, a tribe member returned from college and has introduced "steam", their term for moonshine. Will it bring their doom?
....Episode #4, "Borneo", the hero "reality show star" joins up with sea gypsies, people who have no country, who literally live in a boat, who get land-sick when NOT on the sea, and tests his skills at free diving for food. Truly an amazingly difficult way for families to live.
Extras include SDH SUBTITLES (useful); a booklet of facts, maps, contents, and study questions; and a bit more.
Very educational as well as entertaining. It's like a reality show for the intellectual--and about time. It's not my first Athena documentary DVD and certainly will not be my last.