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4.6 out of 5 stars19
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Madagascar is a 3-part BBC Earth series similar to Galapagos, Yellowstone, Ganges and others which explore a specific region in depth (and in high-def). What makes it special is its connection with David Attenborough, who (along with a single cameraman) was the first to document the astonishing wildlife of this enormous island 50 years earlier. Attenborough handles the narration, mostly in voice-over, for the whole series, and then takes the central role in the hour-long extra on disc 2, "Attenborough and the Giant Egg".

The egg in question was given to him in pieces on his first visit to Madagascar, and turns out to be a relic of the largest bird ever to live on earth, which lived alongside the first humans to arrive on the island for a few centuries, but is now extinct. What caused its extinction? Attenborough's investigation of that question broadens into a reflection on relations between humans and wildlife on Madagascar, a reflection made especially poignant by his personal feeling for the place and intimate knowledge of how it has changed during his lifetime. This film shows that the news is not all bad, as it documents the work that some residents of the island are doing to conserve its wild heritage; but the main 3-part series reminds us repeatedly that prospects are not good for many of the species here, 80% of whom are found nowhere else on earth. This is also true of the other extra on disc 2, an intimate 45-minute study of some ring-tailed lemurs, ably presented by Charlotte Uhlenbroek.

At the end of the main series, Attenborough (on location) remarks on what a shame it would be if this living laboratory of evolution should be lost before we have really understood it. In the more personal follow-up film, the bird who laid the giant egg becomes a symbol for the whole unique ecosystem: as the main series explores what made it so unique and fascinating, the sequel reflects on how it is changing. Madagascar in turn could be seen as a symbol of life on the whole planet, especially in the light of other recent BBC productions such as Human Planet and How the Earth Changed History. Attenborough has never been one to sermonize on what humanity is doing to its fellow earthlings and its own ecological matrix, but his concerns on that score come through loud and clear in this latest (and possibly his last) appearance before the BBC Earth cameras. Personally i can't help seeing this as a reflection on his own career as a peerless producer, writer and narrator of intelligent, informative and spectacular wildlife documentaries. What a shame if we should lose him before we've properly understood him! Even more than the many other great BBC miniseries on Blu-ray and DVD, this one should not be missed.
Update December 2011: This is certainly not the last BBC series to be narrated by David Attenborough, as he is also the voice of the Frozen Planet series coming in April 2012 on DVD and Blu-ray.
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on January 2, 2012
I highly recommend this excellent addition to everyone's BBC/David Attenborough video collections! Incredible videography and masterful narration.

My only regret is that they spent so much time on the Lemurs and Chameleons. Those truly are fascinating and entertaining to watch, but there are so many other cool creatures unique to Madagascar. I was especially disappointed they didn't show the day-flying Madagascan Sunset moth, Chrysiridia rhipheus, which is more colorful than most butterflies, or the incredible Madagascan Moon Moth, Argema mittrei. Google these two flamboyantly exotic creatures and tell me they're not worthy of mention. :-)
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on November 10, 2013
I have the other BBC documentaries narrated by David Attenborough and all of them have a very high standard of narration - very clear and concise; with descriptions/explanations understandable to everyone (including children). This documentary shows how Madagascar is unique.
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on February 14, 2014
Packed with information and incredible footage.
A valuable document of a rare environment that is disappearing fast.

Includes David Attenborough as narrator which, alone, makes it unbeatable!
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on January 14, 2014
I hope this man lives to be 300 and never stops making nature documentaries. This documentary meets the usual Attenborough high standards. You won't be disappointed.
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on August 26, 2011
Honestly incredible. My husband and I watch as much BBC as we can and this one actually inspired us to get a chameleon lol. I 100% recommend it to everyone!
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on December 4, 2013
So what can I say about this remarkable BluRay feature that hasn't already been said. Not allot!
Bottom line, If you are a fan of these BBC documentaries, hosted by the great David Attenborough, you can't pass this up.
I picked this one up during a sale on Amazon a while ago, and it is definitely worthy of a place on the shelf in my studio.
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on January 5, 2015
Pros: Excellent Cinematography. David Attenborough narration. Informative, fascinating and at times powerful. Good soundtrack.

Cons: sometimes repetitive. Copy and paste of footage from other BBC series (ex: mouse lemurs).

Other observations: Only three episodes. Focus primarily on lemurs, but other animals, insects, plants and trees are covered.
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on June 16, 2012
This documentary about Madagascar by the BBC, narrated by David Attenborough, lives up to the quality standard we have come to expect from similar BBC documentaries. Superb video, very clear audio and content and coverage that show the BBC are willing to go the extra mile to provide entertaining, informative documentaries. Highly recommended!!
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on April 6, 2013
Absolutely fascinating. Lemurs are so beautiful and adaptable, in fact it was fascinating to see how all plant-life and animals alike survived in the most stark and in hospitable landscapes. Bizarre animals and plants.
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