The quality of the camera work and the incredible diversity of marine and shore life seen in this BBC video is world class, mostly in the same league as "Planet Earth" (2006) and in some ways better. The sheer profusion of life in the reef with the explosive dazzle of color and the graceful dance and sway of the sea creatures is mesmerizing.
The presentation by Monty Hall who narrates and stars is not the best however. His underwater vocals are garbled and his presence in some places is artificial and forced. He does look the part however, healthy and macho, and he even lives up to his namesake with a bit of slapstick when he gets sand thrown sharply in his face from a green turtle covering her clutch of eggs.
The DVD is 185 minutes long and I hardly noticed the time flying by until I got to the final sixty minutes or so. Here the focus is mostly on the green turtles that lay their eggs in the sands of Raine Island in the reef's Queensland National Park. This part of the show may be a bit unsettling for some viewers especially when some of the turtles can't get back to the sea and die in the hot sun or when the tiger sharks rip apart their corpses when they are later washed out to sea. It is also not fun to watch the baby turtles scrambling over the sand to the ocean only to be snapped up, desperately wriggling in the beak of a Rufous Night Heron.
The video also shows us a bit of the life ashore near the reef including some footage of the mangrove swamps; and there's some history of the reef and how the reef affects the Australian mainland. There are many surprises including tiny pink sea horses a centimeter long, a shrimp and a fish living symbiotically together, and sea snakes that live in the anus of sea cucumbers.
I'm looking forward to watching this again...well except for the last part about the green turtles.
--Dennis Littrell, author of "The World Is Not as We Think It Is"