Top positive review
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A film of enourmous proportions that shows the majesty and mystery of our planet
on July 6, 2007
It is hard to find a starting point in reviewing a film series that has set such a high standard of achievement. I frequently found myself pausing, rewinding and replaying multiple segments of each eposide, fascinated with the extent to which these expert filmmakers went to capture such amazing footage. What sets this "nature documentary" apart from all that have come before it is the expert utilization of a multitude of filmmaking tools reserved for big budget TV commercials, music videos and feature films. Examples can be seen right from the first episode, where the use of a motion control rig and time lapse photography shows the full, month long transition between seasons on the arctic tundra, and long distance, high speed lenses capture the frolicking of a polar bear and her cubs. The African wild dog hunt segment made use of a high-tech helicopter HD camera mount, formerly used exclusively by the military. Even small clips that take you into the next act are amazing, unparalleled photographic achievements.
Photographic and technical wizardry aside, the mandate of this series was to show the planet and it's non-human inhabitants as they've never been seen before. In this respect, the producer, Alistair Fothergill, and his team of hundreds have far exceeded their goal. This did not come about without putting in a mammoth amount of sweat equity. In watching the 10 minute diary segements after each episode, one sees the drive and determination of the crew, sometimes up to three years of hiking and filming, to capture a few minutes of rare footage. A previous reviewer has referenced the snow leopard and shark footage, I would like to add the pirhana feeding frenzy and stork migration over Mount Everest as truly awestriking segments as well.
The narration by David Attenbourough adds a gentle backstory and a few exclamation points to footage that could stand alone without it. A 5.1 soundtrack, and BBC Orchestra score give a compelling reason to turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy the HD glory of this absolutely flawless presentation. This is a must see series for children and adults alike... awesome... awesome... awesome!