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4.6 out of 5 stars296
4.6 out of 5 stars
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91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
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!
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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2007
This is a great series; you will fill like never before when you watch the series. And don't worry because Sigourney Weaver, the narrator of the discovery's planet earth version in the USA, will not narrate this DVD set. This set will contain the original version with David Attenborough's narration. Is just an error of Amazon listing Weaver as the narrator in this set. I can confirm this because I have seen many sources that confirm this. The version with Weaver is on sale on the Discovery's store and it has a different cover. I hope you buy this set and not the discovery's because I have heard Weaver's narration and Attenborough's narration, and Weaver's is nothing compare to Attenborough's. I hope you enjoy this set as I did.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2007
We awaited the delivery of this set with great anticipation. We are diehard David Attenborough fans, having watched Blue Planet, The Life of Birds, The Life of Mammals, Ghandi, The Trials of Life and many others. The photography in this series is simply impecable. The images are crisp and clean and put the viewer almost in the lap of the very thing he/she is watching. It's only when the camera is pulled back slowly that we see just how amazing the shots really are. Many of the scenes have never been captured before. Some of the locales have not been open to photographers for the past 25 years. In the case of the Chandalier Cave, the producers of this magnificent series had the last photographers to have access to this fragile environment.

One of the great things about this series is they have a segment right after each 'episode' (there are three per DVD) entitled Diaries. The viewer is given a very personal account from the photographers as to just how difficult it was to get their remarkable shots. It not only highlights the humanity of the photographers and directors but also the dedication they put into their work, and the unbelievable lengths to which they will go in order to achieve it. More often than not it is done at great physical expense as they put themselves in harm's way.

We've been avid wildlife watchers and many of the scenes within this set have never been captured and viewed before. The flow of each 'episode' is remarkable. Attenborough comes through again as he narrates each segment with dignity and aplomb. We highly recommend this series.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2007
First let's clear one thing up it is David Attenborough who narrates this series not Sigourny Weaver

The ultra high speed cameras used for Planet Earth capture footage with such clarity it is unbelievable. The shark footage alone is worth it. The high definition filming is amazing because they can film from so far away you see animals going about their daily lives undisturbed. This DVD should be shown in every school around the world, it would capture the young students attention and show them the beauty of our planet as they have never seen before and show them why we must protect our environment.
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226 of 242 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2008
A friend of mine showed me this series on DVD. I was so impressed I couldn't wait to purchase the Blu-Ray version and watch it at 1080p resolution. It turns out that not every scene is filmed in high definition, which is understandable given the conditions of some of the filming. What REALLY disappointed me about this version, however, is that much of the content is missing! The DVD version has a short documentary piece after each section that shows how the filming was done. This is actually some of the most interesting content. It's incredible, for example, how many days a photographer spent hiding in a blind to film a rare bird in the Amazon. When I got the Blu-Ray set I searched and searched but all this "making of" content is not included!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2008
This series is outstanding. Great cinematography and just mind boggling natural beauty.
The only question I have is why does the product description mention a 5 disc set when the product image clearly states 4 disc set, like the one I own. Was there a re-release of this product?
Where is the fifth disc? Where are those 10 minute behind the scenes clips for each episode? I don't have any of that on mine. In fact my version is bare-bones episodes, no special features. For my first blue-ray purchase that's a little disappointing. My friend has the regular dvd's and they do have all the special features and extras...
Why would the blue-ray version have less?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2007
Try to imagine 5 DVD's of AMAZING stuff from around the world that has never been filmed before. This is the most comprehensive documentary I have ever seen. The quality of the cinematography is top notch. I was truly inspired by it. A very engaging and tremendous learning experience for ALL ages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2007
This series should also be required viewing for the politicans and businessmen of the world. The cinematography is without parallel. The images are haunting and beautiful. There is a mixture of awe, wonder, shame and sadness - the latter two because of our (mankind's) on-going destruction of this planet and its species. To this end, this series include an extra DVD of three hour-long episodes about the threats to this planet - and to our very existence - and which offers some solutions.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2007
While the TV presentation of Planet Earth has David Attenborough narrating, this DVD appears to have Sigourney Weaver as narrator.

Not wishing to detract from Ms Weaver's skills, Attenborough fans may want to seek out the UK version with David Attenborough if this release does not have the option of selecting him for voice-over.

That said, I will definitely be adding this title to my library, as the visuals are stunning, the transitions from season to season using the same shot are well done, and as an educational tool I highly recommend this as a way to see naturally beautiful parts of the natural world that often go unseen.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2009
My brother owns the progressive scan quality DVD of this set and watching it on my component cabled DVD player it was astounding on my 42" LG LCD 1080p. I loved it so much I thought "I need to have this!", but decided why get it in DVD format when I can one up it and go for the blu-ray. I even bought a blu-ray player and HDMI cable just in preparation for this set.

WOW it looks incredible!...until you get to a lower light shot. Something has happened in the transfer to the blu-ray and added SEVERE amounts of dark dark blue (sometimes grey) grain to low light shots. Now I realize not "all" the camera work is done in HD, which is fine, but these scenes looks WORSE on blu-ray than on DVD, how does that happen? The caves episode shows it the worst, some scenes have literal snow on them like partially opaque white noise, and some scenes LITERALLY look like one of those 10yr old VHS tapes with a show recorded from TV look to them. I mean it is absolutely undeniable how horrid some of it looks.

There's forums all over the net complaining about this from up to 2 yrs ago it seems. No idea if it's just -some- of the blu-rays or all of them, not sure if the BBC will recall it or what. But I am truly sad that the DVD version overall looks better than the blu-ray. Nothing worse than sitting down to pure eye-candy (and educational to boot) and switching scenes and thinking "wow am I watching this on UHF?".

For those thinking it may be my setup it's not, I'm watching this on an LG50 42" 1080p using a Sharp Aquous Blu-ray player with the most up-to-date firmware tranferring on a 4' HDMI gold cable. Every blu-ray I have is fine, save for this one.
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