Need a little more awe to your DVD collection? Want to see some of the most beautiful footage of the most beautiful places and life on earth? Then The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection is for you, containing the six-disc Special Edition of Planet Earth, single discs of Galapagos and Ganges an a two-disc Wild China to make am awe-inspiring ten disc set crammed with all the beauty and majesty of the natural world.
The star of this show, of course, is Planet Earth, the award-winning and extremely popular 11-part series in which each part examines a different biome, except the first part, “Pole to Pole,” which serves as an introduction. The series provides a very detailed look at mountains, caves, plains, deserts, frozen tundra, jungles, forests, fresh water, and the oceans, looking at the animal life in each. Each episode of Planet Earth is 50 minutes long and on top of that there’s the 10-minute featurette, “Planet Earth Diaries,” which reveals the challenges in the making of the series.
The series is presented by Sir David Attenborough, perhaps the greatest documentarian of the natural world pours a breathtaking amount of knowledge, love and passion into every word he utters, truly inspiring the love of nature in all who listens to him.
Planet Earth includes many firsts and truly breaks new ground, with such amazing moments as seeing a piranha feeding frenzy, Bactrian camels eating snow and canine hunts filmed by air.
The set comes with audio commentary for “Pole to Pole”, “Mountains,” “Caves,” “Great Plains,” and “ShallowSeas,” each with different commentators. There’s a featurette titled “Great Planet Earth Moments,” there’s “Planet Earth: The Future.” A three part series about conversation with each part being an hour long and discussing the environment shown in Planet Earth which serves to inspire viewers to have more love and care for the beauty depicted in Planet Earth. The Final disc includes three new specials: “Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth” delves into this particular strain of feline with gusto. “Secrets of the Maya Underworld” reveals many lesser known items about the ancient civilization. “Elephant Nomads of theNamib Desert” looks at the advanced culture of the animal kingdom and there is also a preview of Frozen Planet.
Galapogos takes a look at the Galapagos Islands, where four different ocean currents collide, and gives a detailed account of the shifting islands and of the life inhabiting them, with tortoise, swimming iguanas, diving boobies, surfing seal lions and more.
Wild China is a five hour exploration of the previously isolated country and looks at the native people and the various environments of the area, from the Himalaya Mountains to the Tibetan plateu to waterfalls in forests; it’s a stunning, eye opening look at the area. Wild China also looks at the eclectic mix of animals and the different ways in which they have adapted to changes in their environment, some interacting with humans who live in harmony with their natural surroundings. The special features for Wild China include a ‘Making Of’ and subtitles, which are available in Traditional Mandarin.
Ganges also touches the Himalayas before journeying west, showing the importance of the river running throughIndia and the life it provides for animals and people. TheGanges is rife with animal life, from elephants to peacocks to monkeys to tigers. This river is one of the world’s most important, running throughIndia, and providing life for countless animals and people. Many Indians consider it sacred, and it’s no wonder, given the vital role it plays for life in this country.
The quality of the picture varies on account of different cameras being used in production. At times the colour loses definition and richness, as is true for the sound, but this points are certainly not going to spoil your enjoyment of this simply stunning set.
The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection is breathtaking. You simply must watch it, own it and savour every single second of it. A masterpiece.
Overall: 9 / 10