on 26 July 2006
This special edition of The Blue Planet contains the following:
4 discs, running time 10 hours and 40 minutes. The first 2 discs have the 8 episodes of The Blue Planet. Disc 3 has a couple of very interesting and worth-while documentaries, "Making Waves" which is about the making of The Blue Planet, and "Deep Trouble" which shows and warns of the consequences of plundering our oceans for food and the fish that are caught for pet shops. Disc 4 has 3 separate documentary programmes that are not really connected with David Attenborough's Blue Planet series. They are "The Abyss" that takes us down for a look at the deep sea creatures and geology (including volcanic activity) of the deepest parts of the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Bay of Monterey, "Amazon Abyss" that takes us to meet some of the extraordinary creatures that live in the deeps (and shallows) of the River Amazon, and "Dive to Shark Volcano" where we can admire the sharks around Cocos Island, 300 miles from Costa Rica.
The 8 amazing, 50 minute episodes of Blue Planet are: 1) "The Blue Planet" which gives a comprehensive overview of our oceans; 2) "The Deep" that pushes the boundaries, showing creatures that have never been seen before, deep in the least known parts of our planet; 3) "The Open Ocean" takes us to parts of the ocean where signs of life are scarce - unless you know where to look; 4) "Frozen Seas" looks at life in the hostile environments of the Arctic and Antarctic; 5) "Seasonal Seas" follows the seasons of the seas round the planet's temperate zones; 6) "Coral Seas" shows us ocean life in the tropical paradise regions; 7) "Tidal Seas" follows the fortunes of the plants and animals where the Moon's pull is great; 8) "Coasts" features the permanent residents of the coasts and those who have to return to the shore to breed.
The first 3 discs are the real stars of this package. I can't think of any documentary series that comes close to the scope and quality of this - except other David Attenborough series (where in every case the programmes are bound to be watched over and over again). Where this particular series is slightly ahead of the other Attenborough wonders, is the technical advance in the photography since, for example, "Life on Earth". You only need to compare the documentaries on disc 4 of this bundle (where the photography is brilliant but the presentation could leave you wondering whether the programmes are about the wildlife or are they really about the personalities of the programme presenters and their whiz-bang technology) to "The Blue Planet" series on discs 1 and 2, to be appreciate what a superior production Blue Planet really is.
on 19 October 2005
Having by now written over six hundred reviews on Amazon, I finally find myself struggling for words. 'Awesome', 'inspiring', 'breathtaking', and a thousand others in the same vein sound trite compared to the emotional impact of this series and the extraordinary package which makes up the 'Special Edition'. 'Special Edition', indeed, is a term frequently used as marketing hype to mean a fancy box and little more. Here, you get a very special package indeed.
I can't swim. I love being beside the sea, I love sailing on it, but nothing could ever persuade me to stick my head beneath its surface ... except, perhaps, this BBC series. 'The Blue Planet' is your chance to explore the sea by proxy. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau on black and white television and thought his exploration of the sea could hardly be equaled. Technological advances and the audacious vision of the BBC have scaled new heights or, in the nicest possible sense, thrown light into greater depths.
I've seen this set described as the definitive study of the world's oceans and seas: given our still limited knowledge of these, that is probably a highly exaggerated claim. Nevertheless, 'The Blue Planet' is as comprehensive a package as you'll find, a state of the art investigation of both the deep and the surface.
The science is communicated with authority and without pretension, but the series is, undoubtedly, art. I've rarely seen more beautiful or more inspiring images. If Cousteau inspired thousands to take up scuba diving or oceanography or whatever, there's no telling what influence this production will have. Buy it for yourself and sit, hour after hour in wonder, in sheer wonder. But make your children watch it - it should be an obligatory birthday or Christmas present for young and old alike.
The images are just ... well, breathtaking. But the message is clear - we need to preserve our seas and value the life teeming within. Whether it's the gymnastics of penguins, the life-and-death struggle of orcas and seals, the grace of whales, the astonishing flow of millions of fishes, the ominous presence of sharks, the ballet of dolphins, or the firework displays which pass unseen in the deepest, darkest oceans, this is a story of life, irreplaceable, essential life.
The whole series is life-affirming. It is inspirational. I'm back to that impossibility, searching for words enough to describe the awesome beauty and vitality of this production!
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, a man you would trust with your imagination and a voice so honest, authoritative, and compelling he could sell sand in the Sahara, this is not an encyclopedic study - that could hardly be achieved in a hundred DVD's - but it is a snapshot of life which you can watch again and again in endless rapture and fascination.
The BBC's Natural History Unit took five years to film this - fish, fowl, mammals, crustaceans, the whole corps de ballet of the deep. The eight transmitted episodes look at the depths, the surface, coastlines, ecology, climate and tides ... the lot. Astonishing! And this edition offers three new episodes - exploring the deepest waters, the Amazon, and an underwater volcano which is a haven for sharks. You get other extras, too - a 'making of' film, an ecological documentary, and interviews with the crew who made it.
Picture quality is ... Wow! The sound quality, the commentary, the music ... Wow! I'd like to get technical, but this really is a case of never mind the width, just admire the quality!
An absolutely astonishing piece of television, communication, and art, a production which will inspire you to look at the sea anew, a vision which will hopefully encourage many to study the subject and many more to insist that governments and industry respect our seas and their inhabitants. This is why we have a license fee, this is what continues to make the BBC great, this is what television is about - this is real reality TV! This is a production which will be talked about a century from now. Do you get the impression I like it? Five stars don't do it justice ... neither would ten!
on 26 February 2007
I find it dificult to write reviews, due to the fact that other reviewers have already said what I already believe this documentary to be (hope that made sense). This has got to be one of the most awe-inspiring and an eye-opening documentary I've ever seen!!!! And I really mean that. This documentary, made me realize what we are doing to our planet. As MR. Attenborough (hat's off to him ladies and gentlemen!!!) stated, we know more about outer-space than we do about our oceans (which covers over 70 per cent of our planet, hence "Blue Planet"), and we are destroying it. Anyway, I'm digressing, the camera work is exceptional(in fact, everything is exceptional), I was enthralled just by watching it. Everyone should watch this, even youngsters (they could learn a lot from this, instead of watching too much cartoons). There are however some scenes which could upset the very young, like the baby whale being hunted. But other than that it is an exceptional, and as I already stated an AWE-INSPIRING documentary. Thank you David Attenborough, and thank you BBC for giving us this gift.
p.s the price in which amazon.co.uk is selling it at, is a give-away.
on 4 December 2007
It is difficult to praise this series too highly. The photography, whether at the ocean's surface or in its depths, is stunning. The presentation is straightforward and free from glitz and gimmicks - no loud music or zoom shots, no endless repetition of the best bits. The presenter himself is as professional as ever, combining authority with friendliness, and without those annoying "we're now flying to our next location, here is some footgae of me in the plane to fill in time and let you know how important I am, and that we're spending money going to various places" scenes that characterise all too many documentaries. When David Attenborough is facing the camera he has somehting worthwhile to say. We learn from this series, as well as being entertained and inspired, not least because of the use made of new technology to push back the frontiers of what can be filmed.
So is there anything to complain about? Just one thing - once it has hooked you there just isn't enough of it. Oh to have had another episode or two......