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104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Geology Documentary I have seen
There are not many documentaries on Geology, and BBC has turned this one into a masterpiece. Basically, it tells the story of how the earth became what it is now, and how the earth is forever changing in a very informative and entertaining manner. I am sure this dvd would be used to teach some geology students, since it packs in so much information. The presenter is very...
Published on 27 Sept. 2006 by Antony

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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BBC Quality
An excellent introduction to the secret life of our own planet and the intricate ways it is connected with the evolution of life on it. The series lives up to the quality standards of the first-class BBC documentations. The vivid and lively presentation by Aubrey Manning, the quality of the filming, and the excellent computer graphics make for an irresistible combination...
Published on 26 Oct. 2006 by RDG


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104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Geology Documentary I have seen, 27 Sept. 2006
By 
Antony (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Earth Story [DVD] (DVD)
There are not many documentaries on Geology, and BBC has turned this one into a masterpiece. Basically, it tells the story of how the earth became what it is now, and how the earth is forever changing in a very informative and entertaining manner. I am sure this dvd would be used to teach some geology students, since it packs in so much information. The presenter is very pleasant and I really enjoyed watching this dvd. I would highly recommend it, there are not many documentaries that you have to just keep watching since you just keep learning and enjoying..a big thumbs up from me.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for all science lovers - should be 6 stars!, 14 Nov. 2007
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M. S. J. Beard "msj.beard" (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Earth Story [DVD] (DVD)
I was enthralled by this series when it was originally broadcast on TV. I waited years for it to come out on DVD, putting up with an increasingly fuzzy VHS home recording, even writing to the BBC to implore them to publish it. So imagine how pleased I was when it was eventually released on DVD!

Aubrey Manning's velvet broadcasting style takes the viewer on a deceptively deep and fascinating journey into one of the great mystery areas of science - the nature, composition, origins and working mechanisms of our home planet. Seemingly inaccessible principles are covered effortlessly, principles which are difficult to find anywhere except in the most specialist text books. The mechanics of plate tectonics, subduction and ocean floor spreading, mantle convection, mountain root drop, rebound and flow away, all are explained clearly in a relaxed, informative and entertaining style. How else would we learn so delightfully of the large scale fluid behaviour of seemingly-solid rock, the long term carbon cycle, the role of water in maintaining the dynamic nature of the Earth's deep interior, the unique partnership between life, water and geology which has given us the one habitable world we know of.

You know this stuff is good for expanding your mind, but it's so nice and easy and great to watch. It's like eating bran that tastes of chocolate, spinach that tastes of lemon sorbet, exercising that feels like a caress.

A truly great documentary series, a must have for all science lovers. I would award 6 stars out of 5 if I could!
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant. An insight to the life of our living rock planet., 27 Sept. 2007
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I saw this series a number of times on cable and actively sought it on DVD, only to find that the BBC had not put this magnificent series on disk. Well, the oversight's been recitified, and not too soon!

If you really want to understand what makes our planet's geology tick, then you must see this documentary. Where does lava come from? Where do continents, indeed mountains, come from? Why is Greece sinking and Scandanavia rising? Most importantly, what is the relationship between life on Earth and its geology? Did you know that life itself has made and kept this world habitable for itself for perhaps billions of years? I didn't - till Aubrey made it clear. This is perhaps the most valuable point made in the entire series.

After watching the series about half a dozen times however, I can't help but feel that there is an episode missing. What drives and fuels Earth's Great Engine, and what is its (and consequently our) future? It's hinted at, but it requires more attention, as well as Aubrey's gentle, inquisitive narrative, (combined with insightful research ;-)) to bring to life this final piece of our planet's life story.

Yet another masterful BBC documentary series.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonder of the World, 14 Nov. 2007
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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I gave up biology and chemistry in my fourteenth year. I carried on with physics but failed the `O' level. I did well in geography, but my interests at school were more geared towards arts and languages. At university, I did some modules on the philosophy of science and on geology. And I have always had an intuitive regard for landscape history, in which geology is a prime ingredient. In addition, from childhood days I have pondered on the creation of the universe and of the Earth.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it is important to know where I am coming from in order to appreciate the review that follows, to judge whether I am being too naïve. I do not have a detailed scientific background to comment on the veracity or otherwise of the theories proposed in this series. On a number of occasions, it seemed to me that supposed causal links relying on chemistry and physical forces were not described in enough detail for me to grasp in any depth. But on a general level, the series met my intellectual expectations.

I learned a lot; no, I learned a hell of a lot! I learned just how fragile our life is on this planet, how it could quite easily be wiped out by some cosmic event or by an eruption of one of those huge concentrations of magma that exist under, say Iceland or Yellowstone Park. I also learned how much our evolutionary development has been subject to so many chance conjunctions or oppositions of factors. But I guess the real lesson learned is the one which its presenter and `guru' expresses at the end of his journey, namely how the relationship between life itself and the planet that we occupy has ensured the continuing presence of living organisms, for example in keeping the planet cool enough for evolution to do its work.

The presenter is Aubrey Manning, Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Edinburgh, and what a marvellously engaging character he proves to be. Not at all patronising or with his head in the clouds, he has a wonderful tendency to appear as if he is taking you by the hand and slowly and surely demonstrating to you, in the company of other learned colleagues outside his own area of study, the fascinating insights to be gleaned from the Earth's story. Flying all over the world, reporting from Greenland, South Africa, Australia of the mid-Atlantic ridge, his well-intoned words are accompanied by superb photography and stirring music (composed by Deborah Mollison).

The series was originally broadcast in 1998. Whilst the final two episodes raise the spectre of carbon dioxide levels and climate change, there is no direct link made with present worries about global warming. Indeed, the arguments used might lead one to conclude that the vast differences in the planet's temperature merely show present high levels to be part of a natural cycle. But this series is a history covering huge and unimaginable time-spans, and is not really concerned with the minute timescale - a mere 250 years - that has seen the onset of the industrial revolution to today. It would have been interesting to have had maybe some kind of DVD extra in which Aubrey Manning might expand on this issue. Perusing entries on Google indicates that his concerns are more urgent than may have previously been the case.

Each of the eight episodes was produced and/or directed by a different person, so whereas there is an overarching conception throughout the series, there are noticeable differences between each programme. Some are better than others. But overall I was extremely impressed with this marvellous series. One of my friends, who is a senior lecturer in geology, also rates it highly. You will too.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of what TV does best!, 1 Dec. 2006
By 
G. Wylie "george11171" (Scottish Highlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Earth Story [DVD] (DVD)
Sit back comfortably in your armchair and let this enchanting and beautifully filmed mini-series excite your imagination as it travels through the 4.6 billion years since the Planet was formed. Journey to the corners of the globe, to the depths of the oceans and to the peaks of the high Himalayas in the company of men and women who explain clearly the elegant scientific theories which support the Planet's story to date. Then further still; to our Moon and the planets of Venus and Mercury.

Every single person involved in this visually stimulating presentation should be highly praised for a great job, well done, none more so than Professor Aubrey Manning whose easy enthusiasm is most infectious!

My only disappointment is that I had to wait so long to view this little masterpiece. Don't know how I missed its original showing!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most informative documentaries you will ever see!, 17 Dec. 2008
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If you never knew that the earth's core was a thousand degrees hotter than the sun, that there have been twenty one ice ages during the last 2 million years, or present carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at a record low in earth's history, then this is the series for you. It is simply brilliantly put together, beautifully presented, and represents a real intellectual tour de force. The computerized graphic animation is superb, and the numerous interviews with scientists in the field provides the whole series with a strong sense of authority. I can recommend this series no higher!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing and accessible, 3 Aug. 2010
By 
Jose Bueno "Pepe" (Milton Keynes UK) - See all my reviews
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This has to be the best geological series ever. Aubrey Manning assumes the guise of a student who is asking the questions and a procession of experts provide the answers. Stunning locations and breathtaking scenes illustrate the essay as it unfolds. Fasten your seatbelt before beginning this masterly journey through geological time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth story, 10 May 2010
By 
Mr. P. H. Boothroyd "P B" (Bude, Cornwall UK) - See all my reviews
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Aubrey Manning does an excellent job in this eight episode documentary. The first episode deals with the formation of the planet and through the other episodes we are gradually taken through an account of the geological evidence that leads eventually to an understanding of the processes that cause continents to "drift". The interplay between life on the planet and the physical state of the earth is compelling and informative viewing. The presenter does not give an oversimplified account of the subject, but leads the viewer to an increasing understanding of what would be a difficult subject if simply read in a book. The medium of moving pictures is indeed a powerful one.
I have bought several copies to give to interested family members and have strongly recommended it many others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocks, 2 Dec. 2009
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Decent science documentaries are a thing of the past now, hijacked by special effects monkeys and producers who've had it drummed into them that "science is boring, so keep it light". So this series, from the late 1990s, may prove the last great science series that the BBC made.

Like Attenborough's early documentaries, "Earth Story" is perfectly pitched at the genuinely curious non-specialist viewer. The presenter, Aubrey Manning, is a biologist who, by his own account, wanted to understand more about geology so as to deepen his understanding of his subject. To have him present the series was a stroke of genius: he comes to the subject fresh and with a palpable sense of wonder, yet intent on understanding it in depth.

Manning gradually builds up a picture of how the landscape and biosphere of the earth reached their current state, from volcanism via creation of the mid-ocean ridges to plate tectonics. What is so impressive is the seamless tying together of the history, the epistemology and the practice of geology into a single narrative. There is enough detail to satisfy the more intellectual viewer, yet enough of a bird's-eye view to keep the more casually interested engrossed. Lastly and not least, the film of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet is quite stunning. What a wise decision it was by the producers to restrict computer effects to animated diagrams illustrating geological processes - it wouldn't happen now.

I can't praise this series highly enough. Whatever you want from a science documentary, this will deliver more. It rocks in every sense.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 13 Oct. 2006
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An absolutely wonderful documentary series. Interesting, entertaining and educational. Easy watching and understandable for all. Aubrey Manning is a biologist with a true interest in the origins of the Earth. I am delighted to find it on DVD at last.
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