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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing footage of finny frolics, 10 Jan 2014
This review is from: Dolphins Spy in the Pod [DVD] (DVD)
This two-part BBC documentary showcases some stunning footage of wild dolphins, porpoises and orca. Each episode is a 60 minute treasure, combining unique filming of different pods with cheerful commentary. There's even a Blu-ray version which does full justice to the astonishing slo-mo shots of dolphins leaping, twirling and frolicking in the surf. It's not all mammals, either: there's some amazing sequences of beautiful marine life in action - look out for the serene, flying giant rays, stacked five high as they hunt along the ocean floor. Gorgeous.

Each programme hops back and forth between a couple of locations, highlighting different types of dolphin or whale at interesting moments. So we follow a young bottlenose from infancy to the moment when he leaves the pod as an adult; watch dolphins using sonar and team-tactics to hunt; see males giving females garlands of delicate seaweed; even admire the animals' surfing skills as they repeatedly catch breakers along the shoreline - seemingly just for the fun of it. Each episode contains dozens of 'wow' moments, but best for me were the shots of the killer whales co-operating to catch a meal (potentially a bit distressing for sensitive viewers...), and the sharks-infested fish feast. Loved seeing a really rare humpback dolphin, too, with its weirdly beautiful tail fin.
The team also filmed a 2000-plus gathering of dolphins, one of the rarely-seen mega-pods. Even the spy-cams couldn't really do this justice: we see a couple of dozen animals in shot and a lot of murky movement in the background. The above-water sequences of dolphins spinning and racing cargo ships, or underwater shots of them chasing bubbles are much more successful.
Some of the filming comes from the now familiar 'spy cams' camouflaged as a turtle, baby dolphin, giant clam, squid, etc. To be honest, this theme has worn a bit thin for me and I'd prefer to see less film of the cutesy cameras, and more of the actual animals. Get the impression the film-makers are rather too much in love with their toys. I kinda wanted them all to get eaten (the best footage appears to come from traditional cameras anyway). I forgive them, because the rest of each hour is beautifully edited, and comes with an informative, wryly-delivered commentary.

Spy in the Pod is more about entertainment than it is about education: there is some factual info but mainly it showcases (beautifully) the natural behaviour of wild dolphins rather than scientifically analysing their physiology or interactions. The footage is all action filming on location; no diagrams, CGI or world maps, even. There's no need - the two hours passes by in a flash, just gawping at these compelling animals in the wild.
A total treat.
9/10
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Initial post: 10 Jan 2014 16:36:08 GMT
Dan Smith says:
great review.
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