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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 4 February 2017
This is a three part documentary with the episodes lasting about 50 minutes. Each of these is completed by a short documentary about people associated closely with the park. Total time is therefore 180 minutes for the complete three episodes.

The films themselves are of HD quality throughout and can sustain close viewing distance typical of that quality. The series is copyrighted as 2009 vintage.

The narration is provided by British-born Australian actor Peter Finch. Having a narrator who paces the script well and with apparent personal interest as here greatly enhances the enjoyment for viewers.

The opening episode, Winter, also sets the scene by providing background information such as location (8000 feet up the Rockies), environment (dormant but semi-active volcanic terrain), size (50 miles across) and created as the first National park in 1872.

The three episodes, Winter, Summer and Autumn, follow the fluctuating fortunes of several resident species of wildlife as the year progresses. Bison, Buffalo, Pronghorn Deer, Elk, Moose, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, Otters, Beavers, Coyote, Foxes, Ground and Pine Squirrels, Pikas, Trout species plus many bird species are all shown coping with survival. The deepest winter cold, which can drop as low as 40c for example, favours the wolves. Warmer weather in other seasons favours their prey such as the elk. There is some overlapping as the seasons change and spring is shared between winter and summer.

Each season has its rewards and its challenges and that balance is shown to apply to the specific species featured as above. No one species has an advantage, nor has it a disadvantage, throughout the year. Autumn is a time of spectacular foliage colours as the trees, Aspen, Cottonwoods and maple in particular, close down for the coming winter.

The future, however, is neither good nor encouraging for the natural world of Yellowstone and its regular inhabitants.

Migrating wildlife has potentially disastrous circumstances to face if it is to avoid the extreme challenges of the winter at 8000 feet. Elk are a target for ‘sporting’ hunters armed with sophisticated weapons. Pronghorn deer travel furthest but face the dangers of traffic en route and 75% of their final winter homeland is now earmarked for gas extraction. This industrial landscape has little to do with their natural requirements. Wolves, following the elk, are a threat to cattle and therefore face retaliatory hunting by ranchers.

The Yellowstone pine forests which need extreme cold to kill off invading beetles are being adversely affected by global warming. Consequently significant areas of pine forest are dying and the extent can easily be identified from the air.

In the Yellowstone Lake, imported species of trout brought in for ‘sporting’ fishers eat the indigenous Cut-Throat trout. Efforts are being made to halt this by fishing out the Lake Trout before spawning and by simultaneously increasing the gravel areas where the Cut-Throat spawn.
Beavers and wolves were reintroduced as recently as 1995 having previously been exterminated by ‘sporting’ hunters. Both species are doing well – too well in the case of the wolves that follow the elk out of the park in the winter as explained previously.

The three extras are also interesting. The first one concerns the activities of the ‘snowman’ whose main job is to clear the roofs of the park buildings of snow. This work to prevent collapse of buildings is essential. The second film concentrates on a group of geyser watchers who spend their time exclusively recording geyser activity. The final film features the ‘fishman’ who lives locally and spends a huge amount of time free-wheeling in a wet suit down the Yellowstone River. His story provides a river view of much wildlife with whom he shares the river such as the trout but also rising to larger wildlife as wading bison.

This is a fascinating insight to Yellowstone thoroughly exploring the challenges within and without for both wildlife and humans
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on 26 May 2014
YELLOWSTONE [2009] [Blu-ray] Yellowstone, the world's first National Park, is no ordinary wilderness. It is a lost world of vast plains and endless forests, defended on all sides by towering mountains. Home to America's last great bison herd, the grizzly bear and the wolf - it is the most extensive thermal area on earth, with more than 10,000 boiling springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots and more geysers that rest of the world put together. It's these strange natural wonders that first made Yellowstone famous and still makes it unique today. This landmark series reveals the grandeur of this fascinating place as its animals struggle to survive over the course of the vividly changing seasons.

Join the charismatic cast of Yellowstone's wildlife, as they turn to face the extreme challenges of the seasons and discover just what it takes to brave temperatures of 40 degrees below zero, or to live through raging forest fires or to fight to the death for the right to breed. The daily struggles of the wildlife are intimately linked to Yellowstone's greatest secret that sleeps right beneath the snow, which is arguably the largest volcano. The fate of everything in this extraordinary wilderness is in the hands of forces more powerful than we can possibly imagine. Narrated by Peter Firth.

FILM FACT: At the 2009 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, Yellowstone gained the Best Series Award, and "Winter" gained the Best Wildlife Habitat Program award. It was also a finalist in the Best Cinematography category. At the 2009 International Wildlife Film Festival Awards, the series won the Best Cinematography and Best Ecosystem awards, and gained Merit Awards for Editing and Sound Design. Edmund Butt also won the Music for the Original Title award at the 2009 Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards. The series was nominated for the 2010 BAFTA Television Award for Best Specialist Factual. Won a craft BAFTA for Photography Factual in the same year. In the USA, an edited version of the series was broadcast under the title ‘Yellowstone: Battle for Life.’ It aired as a two-hour TV special, and premiered on Animal Planet on 22nd March 2009.

Producers: Andrew Murray, Michael Gunton, Kathy Kasic, Nathan Budd and Paul Stewart

Composer: Edmund Butt

Cinematography: John Shier, John Aitchison Jeff Hogan, Paul Stewart, Shane Moore and Stephen de Vere

Video Resolution: 1080i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 2.0 PCM Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH

Region: All Regions

Running Time: 180 minutes

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 2|Entertain

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Blu-ray discs has propelled the popularity of home video documentaries and firmly established these as cherished demonstration discs the world over. The gorgeous cinematography of the BBC documentary series Planet Earth even set early Blu-ray sales records as one of the best-selling, non-feature film Blu-ray discs on the market and led the way for other nature documentaries filmed in 1080i to the format.

I've always been intrigued by the Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, U.S.A. Yellowstone was the first area to be granted National Park status at the turn of the 19th Century. An entire eco-system in itself, Yellowstone is home to hundreds of different species and many endangered, from all walks of life; land, sea and sky. However, below their feet the delicate balance of life above ground could be disrupted in seconds by one of the largest active volcanos in the world. Whilst this is only of peripheral concern in the program, the fact of the matter is that the beauty of Yellowstone would be forever changed, as well as causing major worldwide effects when it erupts again. The scary part is it could happen at any time. But as proven time and time again, life finds a way through these calamities.

The `Yellowstone' Blu-ray includes three 50 minute documentary programmes that make up the series and that is 180 minutes of amazing content on the one Blu-ray disc, which makes the price tag very competitive and well worth purchasing and they are as follows:

WINTER [2009] [1080i] In winter, Yellowstone is frozen solid - locked in snow as deep as a house for over six months. Whether you hunt for meat, live off stored body fat or whether you simply hibernate, you need to take every advantage, however slight, to save precious energy - then you might just make it through the winter to enjoy the green grass and balmy days of spring. As we follow the grip of winter over the course of six freezing months, we chart the fortunes of Yellowstone's wildlife in a finely balanced fight to survive. Bison use their massively powerful heads to dig through some of the deepest snow in America to reach the grass beneath. A red fox listens out for mice scurrying six feet beneath the snow before diving headfirst into the drift to snap up its prey, while otters slide through Yellowstone's winter wonderland to find any remaining open water where they can fish. All the while, as the herds of elk and bison are gradually weakened by the cold, one animal gets stronger, especially the wolf. But all is not as it first seems - there are larger powers at work. Whether a wolf, a bison or an elk makes it through is intimately linked to Yellowstone's greatest secret. Sleeping beneath the ice and snow-covered surface is one of the world's largest volcanoes. In an extraordinary twist of nature, everything from the freezing winter cold to the creation of a snowstorm is determined by the power of Yellowstone's volcanic heart.

SUMMER [2009] [1080i] As the spring melts the winter snow, the full extent of Yellowstone is gradually revealed. Now, from the surrounding lowlands herds of elk, pronghorn and bison return from their winter feeding grounds to take advantage of America's richest natural grasslands - right in the heart of Yellowstone. In only a few weeks, a brutally harsh deep freeze has been transformed into a flower-decked nursery perfect for the year's new-born animals. There is also a new cast of characters that emerge bleary-eyed from hibernation as grizzly bears begin to teach their young the secrets of survival in Yellowstone and how to hunt fish in the still-frozen rivers and, as the season progresses, when to move out through valleys and grasslands into summer forests and up into Yellowstone's alpine peaks. In this spectacular wilderness, over 10,000ft high, they slide and scrabble, hunting millions of tiny moths buried under rocks on the barren slopes. But summer here is fickle; even on Midsummer's Day, winter can descend from the surrounding mountains bringing punishing snows to fragile flower meadows. August is the only month in the year when it does not snow, but then, just as it seems the easy living of summer has finally arrived; it is brought to an abrupt end as fires sweep through the forest, laying Yellowstone to waste. Yellowstone is the most geothermally active place on Earth. There are 10,000 boiling springs, bubbling mud pots and fumaroles there, and more geysers than in all the rest of the world put together. But for some, nature's fountains are more than just a marvel, they are an obsession. 'Geyser Gazers' have seen them all and can even imitate them. With bated breath, like train spotters they tut when one is a few seconds late and when another erupts in a new and innovative way they dance for joy.

AUTUMN [2009] [1080i] Over the summer, Yellowstone has flourished in late August there are more living things here than at any other time of the year. But winter is around the corner and there are just two months for all Yellowstone's animals to get ready or get out. An early dusting of snow is a sign for elk to start moving down from the mountains to focus on finding food in the valleys. Although the wolves are waiting for them, the male elk are distracted, their haunting bugle calls boasting that they are fired up and ready to fight each other to the death for the right to breed. As temperatures fall further, beavers get busy in a rush to repair dams and stock underwater larders before ice freezes their ponds. Yellowstone's forests - the aspens, cottonwoods and maples - start to shut down for the winter, their colours painting the park a blaze of red and gold. Meanwhile, another tree is coming into its own, the whitebark pine. It offers up a bumper crop of pine nuts which fatten grizzly bears and squirrels alike. But its nuts are meant for another animal - the Clark's nutcracker - a small bird with a colossal memory and one that will reward the tree's efforts well by carrying its seeds far and wide, and even planting them. As autumn ends, the snow and ice return and many animals now move out from the heart of Yellowstone and away from the protection of the national park. Their fight is not only to survive the cold, but also to find what little wild space remains in the modern world. All around Yellowstone, the human world is encroaching - it is now that the true value of the 'world's first national park' becomes clearer than ever. Mike Kasic is a local sound recordist who got many of the natural sounds for the series, but in his spare time he dons snorkel and fins and jumps into the raging waters of one of the USA's wildest rivers to explore Yellowstone from the point of view of the unique Yellowstone cut-throat trout. Whilst his exploits might seem strange to the other park users - fly fishermen and bison alike - in becoming a fish, Mike not only uncovers an enchanting hidden Yellowstone, but finds out that things are not what they used to be for the cut- throat trout.

Blu-ray Video Quality – `Yellowstone' is presented in a breath-taking 1080i aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The vast majority of the series was filmed with the spectacular RED ONE High Definition video cameras. `Yellowstone' is certainly up to the high standards set by its predecessors including Planet Earth. The series features a very sharp image, with very accurate colour. Occasionally, some scenes will feature noticeably degraded images, but this is more a reflection of tricky filming locations or bad lighting, and not a reflection of the quality of the transfer. Some truly spectacular scenes were captured by the documentary crew and the quality on offer here is equally jaw dropping. It's hard to go back to standard definition documentaries after you've seen these.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The main audio track is encoded in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio. To my knowledge `Yellowstone' is the first BBC Blu-ray documentary to offer a 5.1 audio mix. I can't say it offers a whole lot more to the experience than the standard stereo mixes, but the additional rear effects, including general ambience is welcomed. There's quite a bit of separation in the front channels and the centre channel mostly handles the narration. There are very little low end bass effects on offer is quite superfluous.

Blu-ray Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Yellowstone People [2009] [480i] The Blu-ray edition of ‘Yellowstone' includes a trio of decent documentaries, all of which are presented in standard definition.

Jeff Henry: The Snowman [2009] [480i] [10:00] This special feature profiles the ex-park ranger and winter photographer who works through the winter as Yellowstone's so-called "roof shoveler." His job being to clear snow from buildings during the harsh winters, as their mass and weight can threaten to collapse roofs and cause structural damage to buildings.

Geyser Gazers [2009] [480i] [10:49] This special feature concerns the volunteer naturephiles enthusiasts who help monitor the many geysers around the park, helping to document their activities and predict their often erratic behaviour, that helped the BBC crew capture some of their most striking Geyser footage.

Mike Kasic: The Fishman [2009] [480i] [10:26] This special feature profiles the sound recordist and Montana resident who spends his free time swimming the Yellowstone River. It only amounts to a half-hour of content, but it's certainly better than nothing. Unfortunately at the start of each documentary, the sounds dips and you have crank up the amplifier, but when the main part of the documentary starts, the sound goes loud, I just wish they had spent a little more money and time on putting this very annoying unprofessional part at the start of each documentary right. Despite this slightly negative aspect, it's definitely an interesting series of documentaries and nice that their individual contributions could be acknowledged.

Finally, `Yellowstone' is a really spectacular documentary series and another winner from the BBC. We the British taxpayers, do not begrudge paying for a TV Licence, especially when TV Programmes such as these are the outcome, that is why I am so proud to live in the United Kingdom, as our BBC Television has no adverts to interrupt the flow of the TV programmes. Of note however, normally Sir David Attenborough usually does these types of Documentaries, but instead this time it is performed by the smooth talking actor Peter Firth, who does a really excellent professional job, especially explaining all the different aspects of the amazing and unique Yellowstone National Park. I originally viewed this on BBC Two in the UK and was very impressed then when it was first broadcast, but for a long time I was reluctant to purchase this particular Blu-ray disc, well my doubts were well worth trounced, as it is a totally spectacular Blu-ray disc from the very professional BBC and the images are totally awesome. I also definitely recommend the other BBC EARTH Blu-ray disc `Wild China,' as that also has totally awesome spectacular images, as well as awesome sounds and if you invite your friends round to view both of these BBC Blu-ray discs, I know for sure their jaw will drop when viewed on your 3D SMART Flat Widescreen Television. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 17 October 2017
Splendid nature documentary, in fact one of the best I have seen, & I am middle-aged. Photography, script, both very praiseworthy. The entire docu. gives a viewer a tremendous "feel" for the area, filmed season by season. Truly outstanding. As the commentator remarked at the beginning, "this is no ordinary place". True - it is exceptional. One thing's for sure - will not part with this dvd at any price. Just excellent. Tremendous stuff, rest assured.
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on 11 February 2012
The images on this disc are breathtakingly beautiful : kaleidescopes of colour against snow or scorched earth : and sufficient in themselves to ignite the senses without any other attractions.

But in addition to the unique pictures the DVD has a wonderful narrator to help you through a year's calendar as the seasons shape the movements of birds, fish, animals with their cubs, and thiunderous waterfalls, geysers : all part of the Yellowstone National Park's unpredictable hostile wilderness.

As you lie back beside a a warm HOME fire, you can witness NATURE's fires littering the ground around black burned trees with new seeds. You can watch the zoological spectacle of our fellow creatures struggling to survive their harsh environment, clothed in an eiderdown of snow embroided with dazzling flower buds.

Don't miss this Amazon passport to this wild volvcanic crater. "Old Faithful" is ever poised to thwart the efforts of "Geyser Gazers" to predict the ever-changing timetable of water eruptions which reach toward the heavens with mighty roars of freedom.
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on 27 February 2013
I bought this because we were preparing to visit Yellowstone in February and I remembered how much we enjoyed the programmes when they were first aired. In fact, I was impressed by the number of people who, when I told them where we were going, asked if we had seen them.
We watched and thoroughly enjoyed the programmes again and they did give us ideas about things to see and do on our trip. We asked after the man who keeps the snow cleared from the roofs of buildings in the park. His fans will be pleased to know that after a bout of ill-health he is back to work. Alas we did not get to meet him or watch him working as he had dealt with the buildings around Old Faithful hotels the previous week.
Recommended for:
Anyone who wants to understand the complex environment, and something of the management of the first National Park to be declared in the US, or who just wants to enjoy a beautiful wild place from the comfort of the sofa!
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on 9 July 2016
This is the best documentary the BBC ever did in terms of capturing nature and wildlife in a somewhat hostile environment. It's stunningly beautiful and includes small side stories of the people that live and work in the area. There is one particularly good story following the man responsible for clearing snow from the building roofs which may sound dull but turns out to be quite fascinating. This is worth taking a chance on and buying.
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on 23 July 2017
Just fantastic documentary. Seen it several times and the photography is superb.Some scenes are just amazing : the fox diving through the snow to catch a mouse 3 foot under and the man who spends all winter clearing the snow off the visitors centre roofs; must be award winning scenes?. I have visited Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons years ago; but need to re-visit after watching this movie.
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on 3 March 2012
Since getting a Blu Ray I have to confess that the constant stream of 'Blu Rays' which are just converted old standard DVDs is depressing.

Yellowstone is one of those Blu Rays you need in your collection not just because you like the programme BUT because it's one of those discs you can pop into the player for disbelievers (like I was) who thought Blu Ray was just another way to get you to buy all your old DVDs again. The sound and picture quality is eye popping.

Throw into the mix one of the BEST documentaries of recent years and you have a gem of a disc. Watched the original series on TV but the Blu Ray opens up the whole thing yet again.

Don't waste time reading the reviews - this is a top rated Blu Ray. GET IT>
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on 10 May 2012
This program has everything: flora, fauna, seasonal changes, geology, water and lava, the microcosm and the big picture. Ranchers even make an appearance at one point, though most of this program features only what you want to see: the magnificence of this landscape (most of which, though the film avoids telling you this, is in Wyoming, USA).

It also has gorgeous, spectacular cinematography.

Virtually every scene is like a painting, while the intelligent narration (yes, voices can convey intelligence even if someone else wrote the script) floats over them, informing one of unexpected facts. I have been watching nature documentaries since I was a little girl, and I have seen many outstanding ones, but on a number of levels this one *really* stands out for me. I also appreciate the lack of moralizing about what are essentially human-use and political issues. Instead we get *nature*, with the humans on the fringes playing only a minor role in the discussion. And that's as it should be.
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on 18 July 2010
A fantastic adventure in to the heart of yellowstone park, detailing both the hardships and the lighter side of animal life in this unique setting. The BBC should be very proud of this production as it surpasses the average wildlife documentary in its direction, narration and camera work. I particularly like the rare footage of the wolf pack and its cubs whose success and failures are followed through the various seasons. These seasons see particularly dramatic changes to the environment of yellowstone due to its fascinating geological makeup. This, in part, is what allows for the interesting variety and diversity of the footage that has been captured. The feature detailing the lives of the human inhabitants of the the park is also a nice touch.

I would recommend this DVD to anyone who is remotely interested in wildlife or geography. Yellowstone Park is a truly special place and this programme does it justice.
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