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Last Chance to See [Blu-ray]

Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun &Good information Aug. 8 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this video so much I immediately pulled out my copy of Adam's book to read about the original series 20 years previous and then watched the dvd's over again. The wonderful give and take between the two hosts will keep you laughing while a lot of information is brought out. The nearly invisible film crew are always evident in the fabulous footage. They are not afraid to show the problems that come up in looking for rare creatures (cuts, food poisoning, broken bones). Though Frye seems to have near-physical withdrawal symptoms when separated from his wi-fi his delight when confronted with the endangered creatures is wonderful. Carwardine's explanations never become too dry and he seems willing to do anything to get closer to their quarry. There is also a wonderful globe between segments which opens to show a moving mechanical model of each animal. All the details are there and anyone in the family would love this dvd.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and educational Jan. 13 2013
By hossiet
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Fry is a charming and witty host for the show. Lots of great biology is discussed. This is appropriate and educational for people with an interest in biology but any level of previous knowledge.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great production Aug. 14 2010
By JEK
Format:DVD
I did not think that it is as amusingly clever as the book, but the photography is great. Don't buy this for Stephen Fry, but it is well worth it. The extra glimpses into other species (mountain gorillas, black robins) are a pleasant surprise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best tribute I can pay: Doug would have loved this. July 26 2010
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A little more than 20 years ago, sci-fi/comedy writer Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, etc.) joined forces with zoologist Mark Carwardine and traveled the world looking for the "last chance to see" animals at the ragged cusp of extinction. The result was Last Chance to See, one of the finest books I've ever read, and easily the best work of nature/travel/conservation writing.

This BBC series of 6 shows, presented by actor and polymath Stephen Fry and the same zoologist who accompanied Adams, Carwardine, retraces the steps of the earlier expedition in an effort to see how the animals are now faring. I can think of no greater compliment to pay this effort than to proclaim that Adams, who died in May of 2001, would have been "over the moon" to see this movie--although he would undoubtedly be horrified to discover the state of some of the animals he came to cherish, not least the Yangtze river dolphin, which has since been declared officially extinct.

Fry, who was very good friends with Adams is a natural stand-in for the role of wry, wise, innocent, awe-struck and witty commentator that Adams formerly played. It is Fry's child-like enthusiasm, his touching vulnerability (wed to a remarkable gameness in the face of genuine dangers and discomforts), and his brilliant comments (could really have come up with "kiwi-pedia" on the spot when referring to a source of information about the flightless bird?) that make the series especially compelling. Ordinarily there is nothing I hate more that movies about nature that instead focus on people (where Steve Irwin really fell down, I think, is that his enthusiasm became his shtick and the chances he took belied a LACK of proper respect for nature, and he simply became more important through such excesses than the animals for whom he was presumably meant to be carnival barker). The Life (narrated by David Attenborough) [Blu-ray] BBC series gets things exactly right in this regard, I think, and allows the animals, plants, and natural settings and features stand largely on their own without a lot of human intervention to keep the story flowing.

But in this case one man's journey--Fry's that is--is as much the point as the animals themselves are. Because Fry is a perfect everyman. A bit clumsy (he trips on a boat on their first adventure, into the Amazon, breaking his arm badly and having to fly to Miami for extensive reconstructive surgery), not terribly knowledgeable, reluctant to give up the trappings of civilization, cautiously hopeful but poignantly realistic about wildlife's chances--he stands perfectly for an audience of people like most of us. He is Watson to Carwardine's Sherlock Holmes. It is a strikingly effective and entertaining human-centered view of conservation.

Besides Carwardine and Fry, the stars of this wonderful series include manatees, rhinos, Komodo dragons, whales, sea horses, kakapos (strange, plump flightless parrots), lemurs, and a cast of fascinating extras, with terrific cameos (like the one by a pygmy chameleon--an unbelievably tiny adult lizard).

I cannot recommend this series more highly, but I would add a strong suggestion: If you have not read Adams's book yet, read that first. It's far from necessary, but will add an extra layer of enjoyment to your viewing experience (and is well-worth the effort in any case). If you're not much of a reader, visit the BBC's Last Chance to See website for links to radio shows and other media presentations of Adams's original work related to the book. Understanding the context for this new series helps enrich your sense of tragedy and accomplishment as various conservation successes (Komodo dragon) and failures (northern white rhino) unfold.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good to watch as it was to read Aug. 9 2010
By Punatik - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Usually movies and tv shows that are based on good books never come close to being as good as the original books. Last Chance to See is one of those rare projects that proves that it's actually even possible to do so. Stephen Fry, Mark Carwardine and the others behind this project should be very proud, they did justice to Douglas Adams's adventurous, humorous, and truly poignant book. Mark Carwardine's knowledge and excitement is there to back up Stephen Fry's naivety about and enthusiasm for the world's animals, just as it was 20 yrs ago for Douglas Adams.

To come back, 20 yrs later, and see how the animals from the book have fared were in some cases, like the Yangtze river dolphin, incredibly sad and in others, like the kakapos, incredibly hopeful. Last Chance to See shows how easily and unthinkingly an entire species can be decimated, removing forest to plant palms for oil, but it also shows how hard and diligently people work to save a species. It saddens you to see the damage humans cause but in the end Last Chance to See leaves you with some hope.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare gem Nov. 2 2010
By John D. Muir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As someone who worked for some years as a volunteer in a zoo, I found Stephen Fry's expedition to try to find animals on the brink of extinction had an extra poignancy. The Species Survival Plan is doing a good job in making sure that zoos are able to preserve a number of rare animals, but this series shows that increasingly captivity is going to be the only place in which we see some of nature's most exotic creations.

Naturally, being Stephen Fry, the series is laced with humor, not all of which is intended. Fry is one of the few people to whom I can point as evidence that there are individuals more clumsy than myself. In the first episode he manages to fall into a boat and shatter his arm, and later, while attempting to entice an aye-aye (a nocturnal lemur) by offering it an egg, Fry ruins the treat when he treads on the egg. All his tribulations (living rough is not one of his preferred lifestyle choices) he endures with stoicism, while his partner, a naturalist, raves about the wonders of the jungle.

It's an educational and entertaining series. The only pity is that Douglas Adams, on whose book the trip was based, couldn't be there too. I'd have loved to see him and Fry on the trail together.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance to See Sept. 13 2012
By Joan of Phoenix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Absolutely beautiful, endearing, thought provoking, entertaining, wonderful work to bring awareness to the plight of so many rare and endangered species. A real find and more than worth the purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Environmental education for "everyman" - loving it! March 21 2012
By Heather J. Keimig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Our family is really enjoying this show! My husband and I especially find ourselves bursting out in laughter at many of Stephen Fry's off-handed comments along the way. What an ideal pair these two are! A hit!
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