48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Beyond Belief - I Feel Privileged To Have Seen This
, 1 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Planet Earth - Complete Series  [DVD] (DVD)
I received this box set of DVDs for Christmas, and I cannot emphasise enough the hours of enjoyment, wonder, and information they have given me. The team involved in making this epic work of beauty are deserving of anyone's very highest praise, and if they were not awarded for their efforts, then something very wrong occurred.
It covers a whopping ten hours and five discs of some of the most beautiful footage of nature I have ever had the privilege to see. Each disc covers various different natural environments, exploring the habitats and behaviour of the various animals who live in them. We are taken from the dazzling crystals of subterranean environments to the dancing rituals of birds of paradise, each camera shot dazzling even more than the last. Just about every kind of natural environment on earth is included within the five discs, from Deserts to Plains, to Deep Oceans, and everything in between. To top all of that, there is also a ten minute mini-programme at the end of each individual programme explaining how the Planet Earth team went about getting their footage.
At which point it becomes even more mind-boggling. One cameraman camped out in the Himalayas for about three months just to get a few minutes footage of a beautiful snow leopard, another cameraman spends days waiting for the courting of two birds of paradise. These people either have incredible reverence for nature, or they must love their jobs a great deal. The camerawork is perfection, and the things they are filming are stunning. I envy the wonderment and excitement of their jobs, and the pleasure they must feel at seeing the end product.
The musical score is also fantastic, suitably beautiful for a work of such magnitude, and David Attenborough's narration is always a pleasure to listen to. He is one of Britain's most inspiring individuals, a man whose respect for nature has never diminished once in decades, who has devoted an entire lifetime to informing people about nature and encouraging people everywhere to respect the natural world. His commentary is in turns insightful, informative and amusing.
Some of the locations are incredibly dangerous, some are very inaccessible, some are just plain beautiful, but all are given the same painstaking attention to detail and complete reverence. These are landscapes and wildernesses which the majority of us could only dream of seeing, and now, thanks to the Planet Earth team, we can explore them from the comfort of our own living rooms. I fervently wished that these DVDs never had to end. Who cares for a social life when you can switch on your television and see some of the most spectacular sights in the world, night after night?
The animals themselves are the true stars of the box set, however, each and every last one of them piquing my interest and impressing me with their individuality. Each and every one of them has their own struggle and difficulties to overcome, usually put in their paths by human interference. The predators of this series must be respected for their strength and agility, the prey must be admired for their fight for survival. Each and every other species has something admirable about them and every living organism included in these documentaries has their own purpose, their own reason for existence, and their own relevance within the fragile ecosystem of our planet. These DVDs have increased my respect for nature a thousand fold. They should be compulsory viewing for children, so that they too have a reverence for nature.
Nevertheless, reality must always hit home at some point, and the final disc of this set concentrates on the urgent need for conservation and ecology. These last three programmes are vital, concentrating on interviews with people who have very definite ideas about how the human threat to nature must be addressed. These range from the insightful, from an African Professor who criticises Western materialism, to the not-so-insightful, from a rather silly American suit who attempts to downplay the threat of climate change. The naysayers will have to learn the hard way - unfortunately, they might just ruin things for the compassionate people in the process. These money-worshipping idiots could never have the intelligence or sensitivity to appreciate the enormous beauty of 'Planet Earth'.
My final assessment of these DVDs is that the BBC deserve huge praise for their documentary-making abilities, David Attenborough is still one of the very greatest figures in broadcasting, and I shall now be seeking out all of his other work, since the beauty of nature is far more profound and dazzling than anything humans could EVER create.
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