Top positive review
A superb blue ray transfer to a first class wildlife documentary
on 19 March 2017
A superb blue ray transfer to a first class wildlife documentary. Colours look natural and well balanced, never too bright and aggressively vibrant. Contrast is good and the picture is quite sharp while still showing some film grain in darker sequences. The content of the series feels a little more factual and educational than some recent series from the BBC as if it's trying to educate rather than just entertain the viewer. There's a distinct lack of thundering music, cameras flying over exotic locations, short narrative and all the rest. As the series is about the different stages of life we all face it's a little more varied than something like Life in the Undergrowth (2005) or Life of Birds (1998) where in the former for instance we might get a whole episode just on spiders. Nor is it location bound as the BBC series Africa (2013) and Planet Earth (2006) are.
The footage of the Killer Whales hunting is especially impressive. Attenborough also makes more of an onscreen presence than he would do in later series as his age advanced, personally I find it a pleasure to see him on camera getting up close to the wildlife. I'd recommend this for family viewing despite some disturbing and weird scenes such as cannibalism, mothers committing suicide to give birth, and seals being thrown around as if for sport by orcas.
My Blu Ray also came with a nice behind the scenes look at how it was made. The series took over 3 and a half years to film meaning most of the footage was shot in the late 80s though broadcast in the 1990s, the range of locations is also very impressive. The opening credit sequence is a little dated but that is a small complaint to have. Some of the footage is truly impressive especially on a well lit bright day, this includes sea lions giving birth on sandy beaches. The footage of the bats in their cave is wonderful and lacks the distracting blaring music we often get now from more recent BBC releases. Some creatures may appear multiple times throughout the series as each episode switches to a new form of behaviour. E.g. fighting, homemaking, hunting, courting, etc. Some of the footage of the chimpanzees in episode 2 is also a highlight, particularly the young one learning how to crack open a nut, thankfully too we don’t get the epic music or gracious slow motion, everything is presented in a calm, matter of a fact sort of manner. The score is has a 1980s feel and a lot of it seems to be flute based. The series doesn’t quite have the range of impressive overhead shoots of Planet Earth (2006) nor the super smooth camera movement of Life (2009) but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in it’s content. For those of you who are a fan of Springwatch too Chris Packham and Simon King are both credited with Cameraman work on the series.