Long in the making, the idea behind the show was to, using some cutting-edge technology, film previously unseen areas of the ocean, and to investigate life beneath the waves. And in doing so, it pretty much encompasses the full spectrum of creature size. From the staggering, gigantic whale of the first episode, through the miniscule life thats documented as the programme progresses, its a jaw-dropping experience.
Its also a very, very accessible one. Thanks to a diligent, warm narrative from Sir David Attenborough, theres plenty of fact married up to the sheer spectacle of The Blue Planet, although in many ways the stunning photography almost needs no accompaniment. Its timeless work, too, with immense rewatch value, uncovering both life thats never been photographed previously while charting the habits of the more familiar. Icing The Blue Planets cake is a series of short pieces documenting just how some of the incredible pictures were captured, and these are almost as interesting as the main feature.
Enough of those superlatives, though. Because The Blue Planet simply demands to be seen and enjoyed. Prepare, like many before you, to be mesmerised. --Simon Brew
I can't swim. I love being beside the sea, I love sailing on it, but nothing could ever persuade me to stick my head beneath its surface ... except, perhaps, this BBC series. 'The Blue Planet' is your chance to explore the sea by proxy. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau on black and white television and thought his exploration of the sea could hardly be equaled. Technological advances and the audacious vision of the BBC have scaled new heights or, in the nicest possible sense, thrown light into greater depths.
I've seen this set described as the definitive study of the world's oceans and seas: given our still limited knowledge of these, that is probably a highly exaggerated claim. Nevertheless, 'The Blue Planet' is as comprehensive a package as you'll find, a state of the art investigation of both the deep and the surface.
The science is communicated with authority and without pretension, but the series is, undoubtedly, art. I've rarely seen more beautiful or more inspiring images. If Cousteau inspired thousands to take up scuba diving or oceanography or whatever, there's no telling what influence this production will have. Buy it for yourself and sit, hour after hour in wonder, in sheer wonder. But make your children watch it - it should be an obligatory birthday or Christmas present for young and old alike.
The images are just ... well, breathtaking. But the message is clear - we need to preserve our seas and value the life teeming within. Whether it's the gymnastics of penguins, the life-and-death struggle of orcas and seals, the grace of whales, the astonishing flow of millions of fishes, the ominous presence of sharks, the ballet of dolphins, or the firework displays which pass unseen in the deepest, darkest oceans, this is a story of life, irreplaceable, essential life.
The whole series is life-affirming. It is inspirational. I'm back to that impossibility, searching for words enough to describe the awesome beauty and vitality of this production!
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, a man you would trust with your imagination and a voice so honest, authoritative, and compelling he could sell sand in the Sahara, this is not an encyclopedic study - that could hardly be achieved in a hundred DVD's - but it is a snapshot of life which you can watch again and again in endless rapture and fascination.
The BBC's Natural History Unit took five years to film this - fish, fowl, mammals, crustaceans, the whole corps de ballet of the deep. The eight transmitted episodes look at the depths, the surface, coastlines, ecology, climate and tides ... the lot. Astonishing! And this edition offers three new episodes - exploring the deepest waters, the Amazon, and an underwater volcano which is a haven for sharks. You get other extras, too - a 'making of' film, an ecological documentary, and interviews with the crew who made it.
Picture quality is ... Wow! The sound quality, the commentary, the music ... Wow! I'd like to get technical, but this really is a case of never mind the width, just admire the quality!
An absolutely astonishing piece of television, communication, and art, a production which will inspire you to look at the sea anew, a vision which will hopefully encourage many to study the subject and many more to insist that governments and industry respect our seas and their inhabitants. This is why we have a license fee, this is what continues to make the BBC great, this is what television is about - this is real reality TV! This is a production which will be talked about a century from now. Do you get the impression I like it? Five stars don't do it justice ... neither would ten!
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