361 of 367 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2006
This special edition of The Blue Planet contains the following:
4 discs, running time 10 hours and 40 minutes. The first 2 discs have the 8 episodes of The Blue Planet. Disc 3 has a couple of very interesting and worth-while documentaries, "Making Waves" which is about the making of The Blue Planet, and "Deep Trouble" which shows and warns of the consequences of plundering our oceans for food and the fish that are caught for pet shops. Disc 4 has 3 separate documentary programmes that are not really connected with David Attenborough's Blue Planet series. They are "The Abyss" that takes us down for a look at the deep sea creatures and geology (including volcanic activity) of the deepest parts of the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Bay of Monterey, "Amazon Abyss" that takes us to meet some of the extraordinary creatures that live in the deeps (and shallows) of the River Amazon, and "Dive to Shark Volcano" where we can admire the sharks around Cocos Island, 300 miles from Costa Rica.
The 8 amazing, 50 minute episodes of Blue Planet are: 1) "The Blue Planet" which gives a comprehensive overview of our oceans; 2) "The Deep" that pushes the boundaries, showing creatures that have never been seen before, deep in the least known parts of our planet; 3) "The Open Ocean" takes us to parts of the ocean where signs of life are scarce - unless you know where to look; 4) "Frozen Seas" looks at life in the hostile environments of the Arctic and Antarctic; 5) "Seasonal Seas" follows the seasons of the seas round the planet's temperate zones; 6) "Coral Seas" shows us ocean life in the tropical paradise regions; 7) "Tidal Seas" follows the fortunes of the plants and animals where the Moon's pull is great; 8) "Coasts" features the permanent residents of the coasts and those who have to return to the shore to breed.
The first 3 discs are the real stars of this package. I can't think of any documentary series that comes close to the scope and quality of this - except other David Attenborough series (where in every case the programmes are bound to be watched over and over again). Where this particular series is slightly ahead of the other Attenborough wonders, is the technical advance in the photography since, for example, "Life on Earth". You only need to compare the documentaries on disc 4 of this bundle (where the photography is brilliant but the presentation could leave you wondering whether the programmes are about the wildlife or are they really about the personalities of the programme presenters and their whiz-bang technology) to "The Blue Planet" series on discs 1 and 2, to be appreciate what a superior production Blue Planet really is.
283 of 291 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2005
Having by now written over six hundred reviews on Amazon, I finally find myself struggling for words. 'Awesome', 'inspiring', 'breathtaking', and a thousand others in the same vein sound trite compared to the emotional impact of this series and the extraordinary package which makes up the 'Special Edition'. 'Special Edition', indeed, is a term frequently used as marketing hype to mean a fancy box and little more. Here, you get a very special package indeed.
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!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2007
I find it dificult to write reviews, due to the fact that other reviewers have already said what I already believe this documentary to be (hope that made sense). This has got to be one of the most awe-inspiring and an eye-opening documentary I've ever seen!!!! And I really mean that. This documentary, made me realize what we are doing to our planet. As MR. Attenborough (hat's off to him ladies and gentlemen!!!) stated, we know more about outer-space than we do about our oceans (which covers over 70 per cent of our planet, hence "Blue Planet"), and we are destroying it. Anyway, I'm digressing, the camera work is exceptional(in fact, everything is exceptional), I was enthralled just by watching it. Everyone should watch this, even youngsters (they could learn a lot from this, instead of watching too much cartoons). There are however some scenes which could upset the very young, like the baby whale being hunted. But other than that it is an exceptional, and as I already stated an AWE-INSPIRING documentary. Thank you David Attenborough, and thank you BBC for giving us this gift.
p.s the price in which amazon.co.uk is selling it at, is a give-away.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2007
BBC are renowned for the nature documentaries provided to viewers over a long period of time. With the up to date technology available today, it is possible to undertake the most dangerous and enduring tasks. Blue Planet - Special Edition (4 Disc Box Set) offers comprehensive and exclusive coverage of life in world oceans and seas. It is amazing and spectuclar footage and viewing. Imagine the thought of seeing a giant shark and you are inches away from it. Actual divers risked their lives, but took real courage and guts to do this. I would not want to do this. You have commentary from leading experts such as marine biologists and zoologits. As usual to his high standards David Attenborough provide briliant commentary. Undoutabely the world leading naturalist expert.
If you share a passion for nature, the DVD will fill your taste buds. Literally means it is DVD for you and great value for money.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2006
there is not much that is needed to be said about this dvd. it is an awe inspiring feast for the senses that will just blow you away, whether you are watching a whale and her cub desperately trying to escape a pod of killer whales, or just watching the strange creatures of the deep, you will find yourself stunned by the images and cinematography, absolutely marvelous!!!!!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The Blue Planet is a stunningly well made nature series that set a new standard for excellence in wildlife documentaries when it was made. The photography is breathtaking and are perfectly complimented by David Attenborough's gentle understated commentary.
The Series guides us through the variety of life that exists in our multitudinous seas and returns to it's grand common theme, which is: that life is a struggle for survival for all of the sea's creatures; be it killer whales chasing a whale calf, polar bears hunting in holes in the ice in the arctic regions; coral competing with each other for space on the reef; jellyfish extruding their guts in the hunt for food or tiny tube worms cramming round the heat of deep sea ocean vents. Each set piece is beautifully filmed and it is difficult to pick out favourite parts or episodes because there are so many.
One thing I have found is that the show is incredibly relaxing and it is probably my first choice viweing if I have arrived home late from the office after a stressful day. If your job is demanding then this might be for you, whether you are a fan of wildlfie programmes or not. If you are a fan of natural history or wildlife documentaries then I would be surprised that you haven't heard of this, and if you haven't then it is definitely for you.
This series is an achievement and is recommended.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2007
It is difficult to praise this series too highly. The photography, whether at the ocean's surface or in its depths, is stunning. The presentation is straightforward and free from glitz and gimmicks - no loud music or zoom shots, no endless repetition of the best bits. The presenter himself is as professional as ever, combining authority with friendliness, and without those annoying "we're now flying to our next location, here is some footgae of me in the plane to fill in time and let you know how important I am, and that we're spending money going to various places" scenes that characterise all too many documentaries. When David Attenborough is facing the camera he has somehting worthwhile to say. We learn from this series, as well as being entertained and inspired, not least because of the use made of new technology to push back the frontiers of what can be filmed.
So is there anything to complain about? Just one thing - once it has hooked you there just isn't enough of it. Oh to have had another episode or two......
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2006
Just great - all children should see this in schools. Magic camera work, super shots, and learning something, plus getting an appreciation for nature. David Attenborough and team I salute you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2010
As one would expect from a nature series presented by the master: David Attenborough, who not only knows what he's talking about, he also shows us our world over and above our planet's oceans and seas as we have never seen them before in a way that we can all understand. Incredible photography, sensational film footage and accurate presentation of the facts that we all need to know to give us mere mortals a glimpse of a part of our world that we have only recently come to understand (We know more about the surface of Mars than we know about our deep oceans) so this is an educational video at it's very, very best that is a must for us all. There is only one very small complaint: Some of the video footage is repeated in later programs so one thinks "I've seen this before" but in fact, it's used to highlight certain points so I think we can forgive that, as some of this footage is extremely difficult to achieve. All in all, a fascinating, sensational and most education series.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is an amazing series about our incredible oceans and the life they support. You know you're on safe ground as soon as you hear Attenborough's voice narrating and it lends the series some serious credibility. The themes this series covers truly makes you appreciate the diversity of our oceans and to see this series really fosters a delight and respect for our planet that is desperately needed right now. I defy you to watch this and not be left breathless by some of the things they show you. The extras discs are great as well, with additional documentaries to accompany the episodes in the original series. Worth every penny.
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