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Frozen Planet - The Complete Series [DVD]
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Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and from the award-winning team behind Planet Earth & Blue Planet comes the ultimate portrait of the earth's Polar regions.
The Arctic and Antarctic remain the greatest wildernesses on Earth. The scale and beauty of the scenery and the sheer power of the elements – the weather, the ocean and the ice – is unmatched anywhere else on our planet. Yet these harsh environments are teeming with life: home to iconic animals from polar bears to emperor penguins and from killer whales to wandering albatrosses.
Using the latest camera technology to film on land, from the air, underwater and below the ice caps, Frozen Planet follows their fascinating lives throughout the seasons as they struggle to survive. With spectacular polar landscapes and amazing animal behaviour, often filmed for the first time, it captures the drama of an extreme natural world.
With both Poles under grave threat from climate change, this extraordinary series may be the last chance to witness these great wildernesses before they change forever.
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The broadcast experience, both visually and sonically, was arguably the best achieved at that time and continued a very long run of natural world triumphs. These have regularly pushed the boundaries of technology relative to their vintage at the time of recording and this series was no exception in that line of development. With the aid of increasingly available 4K televisions, it continues to pack an awesome punch visually.
The structure of the series is essentially showing the transition though the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter with two flanking programs providing an introduction and a conclusion. Each program follows events in the two Polar Regions by alternating between the two. This allows the viewer an opportunity to make appropriate comparisons in terms of their similarities and differences.
The commentary by David Attenborough for many viewers, and that includes this one, is an integral part of the success of these programs. At all times the depth of his understanding and his commitment and belief in what he says is absolute. It takes the experience far beyond casual, although awe-inspiring, visual entertainment and deeply into the realm of studies. These are delivered in a way that transforms what could be an academic exercise into a gripping natural drama that has implications for all life on earth. The responsibilities for human-kind are made clear as well as the consequences of human behaviour.
Quite apart from the main feature of each program there are also the additional 10 minute features added on, in this case appropriately entitled ‘Freeze frame,’ which give an insight into the making of part of each program. The second documentary in this series, for example, places a team of just two into the Antarctic to document the lives of the penguins which meet up to breed there. This is the most unimaginably inhospitable environment where prolonged storms lasting for days and with winds of up to 130 mph are a recurring feature. An enduring memory of this sequence is the increasingly deadpan sense of humour exhibited by the two men which leads Attenborough to suggest on more than one occasion that he would doubt their continuing sanity!
The above is only intended to give pointers as to what lies within this series. To do full justice to the series requires an understanding and appreciation that can only be gained by purchasing the discs.
This is a wonderful series and one which may never be repeated as global warming takes its destructive course. This makes an imperative viewing experience.
But the series is also strong on emphasising the melting ice and rising ocean levels due to climate change, and leaves us with a strong warning that all is not well with the Earth. With such gorgeous visuals of the natural landscape of the polar ice caps, it is impossible that the viewer not be moved by the destruction of nature by our irresponsible human hands.
One more thing: as tempting as it might be to assume that the "behind the scenes" segments which round off each episode are mere filler, this is not at all the case. Apart from being educational in their own right, they serve to illustrate the extreme lengths to which the makers of this documentary series have had to go to capture all that astonishing footage. One can only feel thankful that there are such skilled people out there who are willing to undergo immense privation to bring to the rest of us a better understanding of the marvellous planet on which we reside.
Superb series and well worth buying on blue ray for the stunning picture quality
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