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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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on 15 April 2008
This blu-ray disc is simply stunning. It appears more of the footage is in HD than on Planet Earth and it shows. Some of the underwater footage, the resolution and the colour takes your breath away. An absolute bargain for 150 minutes of wonder - well done BBC.
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I find nature documentaries to be, by far, the best use of high-definition video. Galapagos is no exception, there's plenty of high-definition footage of one of the most remarkable places on the planet.

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.
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on 6 April 2009
We've just watched this having just returned from a life-changing two weeks cruising and visiting these beautiful, humbling islands.

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.
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on 13 June 2010
Having seen some of this on TV I am delighted to get the whole series. Wonderfully filmed in amazing detail it is a must for all nature lovers with really rare footage of many unusual species that inhabit these isolated islands.
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This is a three part documentary with the episodes lasting about 50 minutes, 150 minutes in total. The episodes are Born of Fire; Islands that Changed the World and Forces of Change. There are no extras.

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.
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on 19 March 2008
This Blu Ray Disc , yes all the episodes fit on one disc , is Stunning .
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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on 7 May 2008
Brilliant. The photography is first rate, the shows are very well edited and constructed. The narration is in the style of Lord Of The Rings which is a little naff but is so full of amazing facts that it wasn't a bother. The visual imagery is so wonderfully shot and seemles, viewed on a projector, it literally did take my breath away!
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on 14 June 2008
A series of three overlapping programmes about the galapogos islands. Visually it's very nice but each episode overlaps, not in repetition but in content. you do for example get to hear about tortoises in three different, but similar ways, also two different kinds of dragons in perhaps 5plus different ways. I fell asleep about 2 hours into it, when I awoke we were on tortoises again. Conclusion visually pretty, content wise an hours video dragged out for two and a half hours.
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on 13 December 2010
I'm not a massive fan of the BBC Nature productions - often finding some of them a bit long winded. However, I really am pleased I bought this one. The photography is beautiful in HD and shows off the beauty of the islands themselves in spectacular fashion.

I found the commentary pleasant and interesting but I am a fan of Tilda Swinton so it may be a personal thing.

My only frustration with the series is that it is too short. Three episodes really whet my appetite but I would have liked to have seen even more of the islands and to have gone into greater depth. I'm very tempted to buy the accompanying book in the hope that that will give me a bit more.

All in all, a really enjoyable documentary. If you are a nature documentary lover then I see no reason why you would not love this production. And even if you're not, I'd still recommend that you give it a go.
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on 7 November 2009
I can truly say that out of all of the BBC Natural History BD releases that I have bought this is by far the best. Most of the reviews here bar one, comment on how stunning the visuals are, and they really are totally stunning and beautiful. I would confidently say that all of this was shot on HD which makes a big difference. I was disappointed by the visual quality of WILD CHINA because quite a lot of it was clearly standard definition up converted to HD, but Galapagos is the very best that I have seen to date.

A couple of reviewers here moan about the narration by Tilda Swinton, I can't see why? Although I love the idea that it's very Lord of The Rings as suggested by another positive review. The style of narration perfectly suits the incredible imagery. More like this please.
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