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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 26 January 2017
This is a three part documentary with the episodes lasting about 60 minutes. Total running time is 177 minutes. The individual episodes are: Kingdom in the Clouds; Last Stand of the Silverback King; Safe in Our hands.

The films themselves are of HD quality throughout and can sustain close viewing distance typical of that quality. The disc is copyrighted as 2010 vintage.

The voice over is provided in English read by English actor Patrick Stewart. Having a narrator who paces the script well and with apparent personal interest greatly enhances the enjoyment for viewers. Patrick Stewart fulfils that requirement well enough to engage and maintain viewers’ interest.

The three episodes follow the lives of the World’s surviving 700 Mountain Gorillas which are only found in the area surrounding the Virunga Volcanoes in the Great Rift Valley of Africa. These gorillas are found in the Bwindi forest region of Uganda as well as Rwanda and the Congo. They live in a compact area close to their adjoining borders. The format of all three episodes is to follow these groups of gorillas by focusing one at a time and thereby achieving a sense of narration as well as comparison.

Over the three episodes we find out that of the 700 remaining gorillas, about 300 are to be found in the Bwindi Forest of Uganda and they differ from the Rwandan gorillas by following a lifestyle that includes more fruit, features more tree climbing and where each group covers a bigger area. The Rwandan gorillas amount to some 200 which are made up of 9 groups. Those in the Congo also number about 200.

There is considerable daily observation of these gorillas with The Rwandan team numbering 70 of which 7 are specialist vets. Tribute is paid to the sustained original studies made over many years by Dian Fossey which is being continued by her successor teams of researches and conservationists in all three countries. This is a life of dedication with 130 of the 650 Rangers having been killed to date and who find and destroy around 1000 illegal snares annually. These are not aimed directly at the gorillas but are still potentially fatal as bi-product. Main threats to these populations of gorillas are poachers, and disease from contact with nearby human populations from which the gorillas have no natural immunity. Face masks are now worn whenever contact is made in the Congo.

The first episode especially features the trips made by the Rwandan gorillas to the bamboo growing areas in each of the two annual rainy seasons. Bamboo contains important minerals but is also a dangerous area because of the bamboo traps. Episode two focuses on the power struggles between the adult male Silverbacks to achieve and retain supremacy. Episode three completes the survey by addressing the problems of future survival and well-being of these endangered animals.

Education is an important tool in the struggle for the gorillas’’ future survival as is tourism. The income from tourism is a considerable and important factor for local populations who are able to see the gorillas as a source of increased wealth. Essentially, the basic consideration is that live gorillas are more valuable than dead ones. Increasingly this seems the most likely and encouraging single message.

This series provides a detailed, informative and invaluable report on the state of the remaining Mountain Gorillas. There is room for hope here although the gorillas’ situation remains very fragile within an area prone to human conflict and an expanding human population with attendant agricultural interests.
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on 2 November 2013
Impressive Project! An exhaustive daily battle against poaching, trap and disease.
Our close 'Relatives' are strongly protected by a talented and very well equipped 'Army' of Rangers and Vets, a 'Unit' of nonfatigable People working for this noble cause.
Pity that a great number of Humans in Africa don't have access to this level of Healthcare and Dedication...

This important Documentary shows unforgetable moments of the Life of three of the several Gorilla Families, located in the Mountains of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda, and the efforts of all those who work behind and outside the Gates of this formidable Compound.

In many ways these amazing Creatures are very similar to Us! Inteligence, Behavior, Expressivity as joy, grieve, anger and sexual desire...
A young Female in estrous ( short period of fertility ), looking directly in the eye of a Dominant Silverback asking for a mate! Something I've never seen before!
Concerning Parenthood among great Apes, Gorilla wins the prize. The Dominant Males Silverback take good care of their young in Family Groups, assuming the roles of Paternity in Mothers absence never abandoning their Infants.
They can even adopt orphans protecting them until Death.
We can see the strategy of a 17 year old Silverback fighting his own Father of 35 year old, for the Dominance of the Group...and so on...

Very very interesting!...

Tourism is questionable because Gorilla is very sensitive to Human disease. Though it means the guarantee of the Species' Survival and at the same time Work and Local Living Conditions for surrouding People.

Everything was said about the 3 Episodes in other reviews. I will not repeat it.

Extremely beautiful aerial views of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda Rainforests, Farmlands and Virunga Volcanoes.
Extremely beautiful Picture as in DVD as in Blu-Ray.
Remarkable Narrative by Patrick Stewart.
One more Great Work of BBC!
4 people found this helpful
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on 8 October 2012
Set against the backdrop of one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, this is a fascinating, highly insightful and beautifully filmed portrait of these remarkable creatures - not to mention the concerted efforts of a dedicated few who are battling to save them from extinction.

Although unsurprised by the exceptional quality of the filming and production - it is by the BBC after all - I was quite taken aback at just how emotional a journey the viewer is taken on as the film crew follow the gripping dramas of the gorillas' everyday lives. I was utterly hooked, and in terms of emotional roller coasters, it's right up there with the magical 'The Bear Family and Me', where Gordon Buchanan becomes intimately acquainted with an orphaned Black Bear cub.

Although 'Mountain Gorilla' is quite sad at times, it's not nearly as harrowing as some nature programmes, and any sad moments are amply balanced by those that are more positive. For example, there is good news for the two adorable orphaned youngsters, and in terms of the species as a whole, the viewer is left with a feeling of hope for the future.

I also liked Patrick Stewart's laid-back narration, which I thought suited these programmes very well, though I'm afraid I couldn't stop thinking of his appearance in 'Extras', where his bizarre alter ego is preoccupied with leering at naked ladies!
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on 29 December 2011
This is one of the best recordings of the life of an endangered species I have come across in recent years, Not only does it provide an insight into the habitat and lifestyle of the mountain gorilla it shows the absolute dedication of the researchers/conservationists/rangers etc,who care for the species.Thanks to these people and their hard work we have a better understanding of these rare animals together with some wonderful photography of them.Highly recommended.
10 people found this helpful
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on 19 October 2013
This is an excellent Blu Ray concentrating solely on the plight of the endangered Gorillas. It is such a shame that they are surrounded by war mongering humans, forever affecting their territories.
One slight negative is that the Blu Ray is only 1080i.
4 people found this helpful
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on 7 October 2013
Stewart is not Sir David but he does a good job of narration nonetheless. Of course it is the photography that is superb and well up to BBC Wildlife's usual standards.

Moving, uplifting and deeply saddening in places this Blu-ray is highly recommended to anyone interested in wildlife.

I bought several BBC Blu-rays (3 for £17), which I can only say is outstanding value for money!
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on 6 May 2016
A sensitive look at the life of a group of Gorilla Family. So like Humans it is uncanny. Everyone should take a look at these magnificent animals who are almost extinct due to the Human Animal cousin.
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on 1 February 2015
Just wonderful to get up and close to these magnificent creatures. The narration is adequate, and picture quality excellent. Glad to see the BBC do natural world documentaries of such fine quality, and draw attention to the majesty and plight of these endangered, majestic animals.
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on 9 May 2018
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on 23 April 2013
What a beautiful book! Full of information on these wonderful creatures with amazing pictures as well. A dream of mine is to go and see these animals for real, but that I think will stay a dream. Still, can look through this fantastic book and carry on dreaming.....
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