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Galapagos [Blu-ray] (2006) [Region Free]
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The inspiration behind Darwin's theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands are a living laboratory - a geological conveyor belt that has given birth to and seen the death of many species of plants and animals. Presented in a pioneering new visual style combined with exhilarating cinematography, this series examines the spectacular variety of wildlife and evokes the different characters of the islands. As the western islands rise up from the sea offering a chance of life, the eastern islands sink back beneath the waves guaranteeing only death. Between the two are the middle islands; fertile, lush land in its prime that contains an incredible diversity of life. Nowhere else on the Earth are the twin processes of creation and extinction of species so starkly apparent... see it all unfold before your eyes.
While its title may be superfluous, Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World is a beautifully filmed journey into "the islands of the tortoise." Located due west of Ecuador, the Galapagos islands are full of gorgeous scenery and exotic wildlife. And this documentary shows it all, thanks to stunning cinematography shot from all viewpoints--the air, sea and, of course, land. The collection is both soothing and exhilarating as it allows viewers to peek in on mating albatrosses (which are monogamous), penguins fishing, and surprisingly graceful giant tortoises swimming in the ocean. The filmmakers also manage to capture a ferocious volcanic eruption that is amazing in its clarity. The problem with many documentaries lies in the narration. A documentary filmmaker hits the jackpot when he is able to get someone like Sigourney Weaver, whose crisp narration fits in beautifully with the sweeping footage in Planet Earth. While Tilda Swinton lends a relaxing quality to Galapagos, her voice at times is a bit too lulling to hold the viewer's interest. The writing also borders on melodramatic, with talk of the simmering sea and such. With visuals as stunning as this, hyperbole is unnecessary. Charles Darwin has described the Galapagos as a world within itself, and it is said that the islands were one of his inspirations for his book The Origin of Species. While the film doesn't clearly explain why the Galapagos are unlike any other place on earth, it does showcase a destination that is unlike what most of us know. --Jae-Ha KimSee all Product description
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The series is curiously written - almost as if it struggles to find a way to cover everything that's so amazing about the Galapagos archipelago. The result is a reasonable amount of overlap which would probably not have been too noticeable if you watched it as a scheduled broadcast over several weeks but if you're watching the episodes in a much shorter time-span, the repetition of photography and, to a lesser extent, the narrative is a bit obvious.
Tilda Swinton's voice is a little under-whelming at times, but she delivers the narrative with good pace and a degree of calmness.
All in all, a great series with fantastic filming and stunning images - a wonderful advert for the tourism industry of Galapagos and a great way to almost experience the wonder of the place without going there and doing any more damage to the fragile ecosystem there.
The DVD is amazing with fabulous narration, gorgeous music and breathtaking camera work. Some may think that aspects are over the top and "fairy-tale" like but this is exactly what the islands are like. Yes there is some repetition but some of the points are so central to understanding this unique place that they warrant reinforcement.
Many people have asked us to describe what the Galapagos are REALLY like. Words and photos dont do them justice. This DVD does a pretty good job. Go buy, sit back, marvel and start planning. Brilliant.
The voice over is provided in English read by English actress Tilda Swinton. Having a narrator who paces the script well and with apparent personal interest greatly enhances the enjoyment for viewers but that communication is sadly compromised here for much of the time. Tilda Swinton appears to be more concerned with her meticulous enunciation as a first priority with very little animation in the first two documentaries especially. The final documentary brings about a marked improvement with a more animated delivery, particularly when describing the underwater scenes. This is the only real evidence of the subject material apparently engaging her own interest. It is such a shame that she could not do this in the first two episodes.
The films themselves seem to be HD quality throughout and can sustain close viewing distance indicative of that quality. The disc is copyrighted as 2006 vintage. The image quality is striking throughout and the underwater photography is an especial achievement.
Each episode provides a detailed survey of the Galapagos environment and together the three episodes will give viewers a fairly ‘broad’ understanding and awareness of the history, geology, creation and eventual demise of the islands.
During the documentaries we hear that there are 13 main islands situated in the Pacific Ocean some 600 miles off the coast of South America and positioned on the equator. There are also some 100 outcrops that are too small to be called islands. Together they provide a wide range of habitats from almost bare volcanic lava to lush forested islands. The youngest is about 30,000 years and has a bare volcanic terrain while middle aged islands of about 1,00,000 years have plenty of vegetation. Forests take longer to form. All the islands have been formed over a volcanic ‘hot spot’ and six are still active. They all travel south-east at a few centimetres annually and eventually die by sinking below the waves.
Sonar tracking has revealed that all the islands are a chain of volcanoes that have coalesced into a vast plinth which has an enormous effect on the surrounding oceanic currents such as the cool Cromwell and Humboldt currents. These create an upwelling of plankton and other nutrients which in turn have created a wealth of marine life.
The first episode introduces and illustrates much of the information summarised two paragraphs above. The paragraph immediately above is largely dealt with in the final episode.
The second episode covers the discovery of the islands and their value to pirates and whalers amongst others. The most significant visitor was Charles Darwin who visited in 1835 as part of the second exploratory journey of HMS Beagle (1831-36). His observations led him to consider evolution and these ideas were put forward in his ground-breaking Origins of Species published in 1859.
The final episode concludes by describing the damaging effect of human activity upon these islands. Currently the local population has greatly expanded from 2,000 to 30,000 and this is largely to service the tourist trade which numbers some 100,000 visitors annually. In addition there are the damaging effects of introduced non-native plants and animals. Of these the most damaging has been the feral goats that have destroyed so much vegetation that the indigenous animals have nothing to eat and are dying of starvation. There is an active policy of goat extermination on the worst two affected islands which has had a regenerative effect. Clearly there is still much to be considered and done to preserve these islands for the future and protect them from the damaging effects of human activity.
This is a wonderfully filmed and informative trio of films and the quality of the photography alone will make this an invaluable set for enthusiasts. The script is informative but contains a fair amount of repetition. The self-aware nature of the narrator and the studied pacing of the delivery is the weakest part of the production. Nevertheless there is still a great deal to enjoy and value and the discs can be recommended despite the disappointing narrative style.
Picture , sound and a very nice Narration , thanks Tilda .
My teenage son , stopped what he was up to and watched this series , he couldnt get over the colours and the picture quality .
I will watch this time and again , I hope you enjoy it as much as we have .
if you have any interest at all in the ISLANDS , BUY IT , Good in DVD , STUNNING IN BLU RAY , STUNNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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