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Most people's favourite sequences will be found here, from a killer whale taking a sea lion on the beach in The Trials of Life (1990) to Attenborough communing with mountain gorillas in Life on Earth (1979). Other segments come variously from BBC wildlife specials, Wildlife on One, The Natural World, The Kingdom of the Ice Bear (1985), Life in the Freezer (1993), The Private Life of Plants (1995), Attenborough in Paradise (1996), The Life of Birds (1998) and The Life of Mammals (2002), with additional narrators including John Hurt, Andrew Sachs and Simon King. This is a fine selection made all the more rewarding by Attenborough's endless enthusiasm and celebration of the world about us.
On the DVD: Great Wildlife Moments is presented at 16:9, anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs. Unfortunately most of the material was originally shot for traditional 4:3 broadcast and so has been reformatted by carefully cropping shots at the top and/or bottom. For the most part this works acceptably with little of visual significance lost, though a sequence of emperor penguins from Life in the Freezer is ruined. Only one 4:3 segment--Attenborough high in the rainforest from Attenborough in Paradise--has been presented in its original ratio. Picture quality varies depending on the age of the clips, with material from Blue Planet and The Life of Mammals being flawless and older footage offering some grain, which is never too distracting. Sound is again variable, the Dolby Prologic soundtrack effectively smoothing the transitions between older mono soundtracks and more recent surround sound. The main extra is a fine commentary that is specific to each sequence and calls on the original producers, directors or cameramen (most but not every section has a commentary), while a 12-minute "making of" is actually more of an extended trailer for other BBC wildlife DVDs. The disc also includes a useful BBC Natural History Unit filmography. --Gary S Dalkin
A combination of talent, patience, split-second timing and not forgetting good luck, has allowed some of the worlds most famous natural history film-makers to capture these unique and extraordinary moments on camera. The tension mounts as crocodiles prepare to ambush zebras at a river crossing; a ruthless python kills and eats a gazelle; unbelievable underwater filming captures the elegance of elephants swimming and David Attenborough gets close to mountain gorillas. Along with bears, monkeys, meerkats, lions, whales and some of the more bizarre members of the animal world, these wildlife stars reveal the sheer awe-inspiring magic of the natural world.