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Dutch Release - Audio : English - Subtitles : Dutch ( optional )
Top Customer Reviews
In fact it turns out that new scientific methods and study have evolved themselves, bringing new information and understandings to light. The programme also uses new tech to illustrate its themes - when most of your subjects are fossils, it certainly does help to animate with some snappy visual effects. A sizeable chunk of First Life depends upon using animation to show weird early life forms as they may have appeared, half a billion or so years ago. This helps to make the subject far more lively than if it depended on fossilised rocks and old skeletons (even if the visual effects aren't anything like as `photorealistic' as the makers claim). They don't quite bring fossils to life, but we can see what extinct species may have looked like with their skins on, and how they may have lived, moved, fed and bred.
This programme also benefits from being presented by the world's most accomplished natural historian and, even at 83 years old, Sir David Attenborough does a wonderful job of bringing the past and its quirky, almost alien inhabitants to life. Attenborough never talks down to the viewer, and he's always enthusiastic and engaged with the subject matter. In First Life he also depends very heavily upon the expertise of various palaeontologists and other scientists, and these experts get plenty of air-time to explain their specialist discoveries and themes. Attenborough is the presenter but he does not hog the limelight; the animals of the long distant past are always the core focus of the film.Read more ›
The extraordinary first phase of terrestrial life is described with love and affection, (as you might expect of Attenborough, whose entire career has been a selfless love-letter to the creatures of our world, living and dead), and we meet these creatures face-to-face, as if in a personal encounter. We meet the first fractal organisms, neither plant nor animal. We meet the incredible trilobites, with their solid crystal eyes. And we meet creatures so bizarre they look like nothing alive today, giving us a tantalising glimpse into the directions evolution might have taken.
The CGI is well-done, and (crucially) not intrusive. The fossils - particularly the splendid Trilobites - are hauntingly beautiful and strange. Give this to a child at just the right age, and you'll create a life-long interest in nature and the history of life. My only complaint about this is there are only two episodes.
By dealing with organisms that no longer exist, the approach is slightly different from the previous programs where David would stand near to an animal whilst providing an explanation of its habits.
To bring the various creatures/organisms to life, extensive use is made of CGI without any the usual flashing visuals & dramatic music that accompanies CGI with American presentations of this nature. Instead it is the usual calm, engaging, evocative voice of David making his point in clear, lucid English.
The other difference is the extensive use of experts to explain various aspects such as the one explaining what she believes is indicative of when sexual reproduction commenced.
David as usual does a Cook's Tour visiting those places where significant fossil finds have been made such as the Burgess Shales in the Rockies Mountains, Mistaken Point in Newfoundland as well as Scotland & Morocco. He then attempts to find show one a living ancestor of that creature.
Commencing with the uni-cellular creatures of which there are no fossil records, he moves to the fractal animals which were part plant, part animal & an evolutionary dead-end, he then proceeds up the chain to the anthropods of which the trilobites are the best known examples.
Finally he arrives at the animals which made the transition from water to land.
All of this is accompanied by excellent non gratuitous CGI, lucid commentary & stunning photography. Just what would expect from a David Attenborough production.Read more ›
At the time of this series David Attenborough, aged in his early 80’s, was visiting the missing coverage of his series of productions centred on the theme of ‘Life.’ His apparent intention was to make just the one series with this topic but, as it turned out, he made a sequel to this series in 2013 where he traced the evolution of the vertebrates – Rise of Animals.
This current series essentially focuses on the rise of the invertebrates with only a brief mention made of the vertebrates at the series concludes. The two series’ therefore do not cover the same ground and can safely be bought as separate entities. It is worth emphasising the importance of recognising the vast variety and success of the invertebrate world as that form of life is still very much with us and accounts for 80% of all current species.
The current set consists of two 60 minute documentaries, Arrival and Conquest, followed by a fascinating 60 minute documentary, Attenborough’s Journey, which shows how the film was created with alternative shots and commentary by Attenborough on set. In many ways this may be many viewers favourite of the three films as it communicates Attenborough’s desire to communicate his love of nature so compellingly.
Locations and experts from around the world are used to draw together the various strands of this development.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful relaxed walkthrough of the unknown prehistoric evolution of animals, there are two dvd's plus a funny documentary about how difficult it was to make the dvd :)Published 15 days ago by aurin räder
A good series from the BBC but in my view not quite as good as Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives which has already covered much of this content. Read morePublished 1 month ago by L.W
This is a fantastic dvd - very good and easy to watch. Has the best information on the subject of how life started. We watched this a few times it was so good. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Manda
An excellent brilliant and entertaining account of the beginnings of life.Published 7 months ago by Mr. C. J. Murphy