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4.8 out of 5 stars
Great Barrier Reef [Blu-ray]
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 January 2012
This is a marvellous guide to the Great Barrier Reef. Visually stunning and presented by Monty Halls, a marine biologist, ex-marine and a diver. The series is delivered in three one hour episodes although they flow into each other seamlessly. We are informed that the Reef is over 2000km. long,created after the ice age meltdown and the only living structure on earth that can be seen from space. The reef formed by plankton polyps that form coral colonies that, with a microscopic plant, create a limestone skeleton into which they are embedded, and although only 1% of the ocean the reef is home to 1/4 of all known marine coral life. Halls may be no Attenborough but he is enthusiastic in his underwater diving and clearly delights in this project and its narration, often in close proximity to his subjects (even lying in mud sediment) It is, of course, the breathtaking, crystal clear photography that dominates this winner. Remote mini-cameras and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) take us to places not previously captured.

The food chain from plankton to small fish and increasing sizes of predators are magnificently pictured. The necessity of hiding for protection and the need for dangerous escapades for food are portrayed as a force of nature, from groupers eating algae to to bump-head parrott fish the size of sheep ripping chunks of coral to tiger sharks dismembering and sawing through the shells of turtles. The sheer numbers and variety of sea-life are a veritable kaleidoscope of action. The beautifully coloured coral produced by algae bleaches when exposed to excess heat. Other aspects of the reef and their inhabitants are explored, the lagoons, mangroves, islands and rain forests all graphically shot from the air, ground level or beneath the sea. Wonderful rocks,rivers and waterfalls.
The whole package is eye catching. Memorable moments include the green turtle migration to Raine Island where up to 26000 arrive at one time to nest and lay eggs, a slow and hazardous journey, filmed with time-lapse. The hatching of the eggs and young turtles struggling to get to the sea before the herons eat them. The billions of larvae formed from mass migration seeking a home to form a polyp and a coral colony.The spectacular shipwreck scene sheltering over 120 varieties of fish, the largest of its kind in the world. The Queensland grouper the size of a car,venomous jelly fish and sea snakes, sea cows (once mistaken for mermaids) grazing on 40kg sea grass per day. Eagles fabulously caught in flight chasing and catching fruit bats. All shown with total brilliance. Noise from damsel fish and humpback and dwarf minke whales add to the attractions.

Halls ends speculating the effects of natural phenomena on the reef: cyclones, global warming, temperature and tidal changes but also the man-made effects: ranches, cattle farms, habitat changes to support agriculture. All affecting the ecosystem and possibly the long-term lucrative tourist industry.
This is a fantastic visual experience beautifully photographed and presented. Top star product.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2012
The great barrier reef is over 2000km long and the BBC camera crew spent over 600 hours filming underwater, so you can imagine the amazing quality and variety of footage they managed to capture. Just a few hours of that is shown here, but without a doubt they are the most mesmerising and stunning you could imagine.

The series is narrated by Monty Hall who does a stirling job and really brings the footage to life. As part of the BBC earth series great barrier reef lives up to it's forbears and doesn't let the name down, another fascinating look into a world that I could never hope to get as close to as I can with this disc.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2012
A brilliant series showcasing one of Nature's miracles. Extremely interesting and features some beautiful camerawork.
Highly recommended for any lover of Nature Documentaries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2014
Love this series of films on a very special part of the world. Looks superb on Blue Ray. Monty Halls makes for an informed and level headed presenter who doesn't feel the need (thank goodness) to wildly exaggerate his enthusiasm for the cameras. He lets the magnificence of the GBR speak for itself. Brilliantly filmed and full of knowledge and information.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2015
This wonderful DVD captures the majesty and kaleidoscopic colours of the Great Barrier Reef . The photography is spectacular and the viewer is treated to everything from extreme close-ups to wonderful aerial shots of this natural phenomenon .
We get to see how coral forms, lives, reproduces and dies . Monty Halls, the presenter of this, is enthralled and conveys that to the armchair viewer. The sheer scale of the reef almost beggars belief .
At the end of the 3 hour spectacular the viewer will be left enriched .
A must see DVD for anyone interested in the natural World. Buy it and be captivated .
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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"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
Really enjoy the Great Barrier reef....
Wont ever go and see it, so can enjoy it in bed ,,,,just love it...
interesting, relaxing, quite amazing....a lovely soother....
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on 28 June 2014
My wife and I enjoyed watching this 3-episode Blu-ray. It's remarkably well filmed and visually stunning. The footage of sharks eating turtles was really interesting - they appear to have mounted a camera on the unfortunate turtle (which as already dead, it seems). My only criticism would be that it lacks a developing narrative to tie the episodes together and to differentiate them from each other. The episodes become "more of the same" after a while. Still, I am glad I bought it and I recommend it to others. I don't know if it's available in 3D but that would be really something.
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on 9 March 2014
I am a massive Attenborough fan and as a rule only purchase his dvds - this dvd came up as a recommendation for me so I brought it and I must say Monty Halls is now a favourite too ! I loved this dvd from start to finish it was an eye opener for me I didn't realise just how large and fascinating the barrier reef is , and how it is connected by so many other eco systems this dvd kept my full attention throughout and I have watched it over and over.

Highly recommend to all ( I was bit disappointed to read this had been given a low review by anyone ! )
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on 29 September 2014
Ordered 19.9.14 and received by 22.9.14. One Disc for this three-part series featuring nature in all its colour and splender on Australia's Great Barriet Reefs together with other locations which contribute to the Reefs well being. Spoilt only by the host of the series fequently believeing he can talk through a mask under water expecting the viewer to be able to understand what the hell he is talking about and quoteing facts at that, which he could so easily have said out of the water.
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