Top positive review
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A delight for a nature lover, as well as an absolutely unique portrayal of Russia's wildlife
on 15 January 2012
Wildes Russland (Wild Russia) is a six piece series on the most fascinating wilderness in Russia. It includes 270 minutes of film, plus another 45 minutes on the making of, and some of the animals and some of the events shown have been captured on film for the first time.
To start with the superlatives, the filming took over 3.5 years, during which ten camera teams captured 600 hours of raw material (including 50 hours of aerial shots) and travelled over 100.000km. This means that the selection from over two hours of film for each minute shown allowed the team to really only choose the best of the best.
The landscapes are truly breathtaking, the animals shown often unique (and the handful that have been recorded for the first time shown to a much wider audience than the handful of people who travel to the remote areas of Russia, where these are found). In a way it is a nature documentary of the old style, which does not revel in scenes of nature's violence, so you will not find scenes of predators making a kill in here (with the exception of a long eared hedgehog fighting some insects, and some combative ants), meaning that there will be no need for explaining potential nightmare material away for smaller children watching it.
The six episodes focus on the Caucasus, the Urals, Sibiria, the Arctic, the Far East and Kamchatka. As the area covered spans a large part of the globe, you will find everything from the typically imagined Russian animals (bears, tigers, seals, wolves...) to antelopes and gazelles, camels, and other jungle and desert dwelling creatures, which would rarely be associated with Russia.
The quality of the filming is really spectacular and it is definitely worthwhile getting this in Blueray. Complementing it, the crew managed to find some excellently fitting Russian music, adding an extra components to merge this into a fantastic whole. The only thing slightly marring the impression of perfection, is that the commentary cannot cover everything in the short time given - capturing all the wildlife in the largest country in the world in four and a half hours means that the narrator can give the basic information on the situations shown, without engaging in detailed debate.
In terms of languages, English and German are offered, with subtitles being available only in German. Still, given that there is unlikely to be another so comprehensive effort to capture Russian wildlife any time soon, this is a must for any nature lover with an interest in the particular geographic area.