Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2011

ARTICLE INDEX

"Planet Earth: Special Edition" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

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Synopsis

Planet Earth is an epic journey across the seven continents of our planet, featuring creatures from all walks of life.  From the arctic, to jungle forests, this documentary covers just about every climate region on Earth.  New camera technology and filming techniques were created in order to bring us closer to the action and it definitely shows.  Sir David Attenborough, a British filmmaker and naturalist, narrates the film, giving the viewer a glimpse into the heart of mother nature.

This new Special Edition for 2011 features a bunch of never-before-seen extras along with the eleven production video diaries previously only available on the DVD set.


Specifications

  • BBC
  • 2006, Color, Not Rated, 538 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080i
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD High Resolution
  • Narrated by David Attenborough

Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Planet Earth is an amazing documentary and it is something everyone should see.  This new Special Edition packs some great new material in a very nicely designed package.  I really appreciated the music only audio track.  The orchestral score is excellent and it makes for a very calming experience to just sit back, watch and listen.  The original 2007 Blu-ray release was bare-bones with no extras.  The making of diary’s are fascinating and provide a new window into how much effort was put into capturing these images.  They really make this a truly “special” edition.  If you never got around to picking up this series, now is definitely the time.  If you already own the 2007 release, and are a huge fan, the extra features are very good and make this a worthy purchase.

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Technical

The images captured in Planet Earth are amazingly beautiful and seeing them in HD is as close to being there as you can currently get.  Yes this release is in 1080i and not 1080p, and I suspect it has something to do with how Planet Earth was originally filmed, but I am not sure.  I do not have the original 2007 release to directly compare but the images do look great. 

Audio is presented in DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1 and it sounds excellent. Although it is not lossless Master Audio, it is far and away better than the original release’s lower bitrate Dolby Digital soundtrack.

Extras

NEW BLU-RAY AND DVD BONUS FEATURES
-Special Sneak Peek at Executive Producer Alastair Fothergill’s next blockbuster project: Frozen Planet
-Commentary on select episodes
-Greatest Planet Earth Moments – Relive the greatest moments of this revolutionary series and discover how these scenes were captured on film.
-Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth – The BBC Natural History Unit explores a secret cave deep in the mountains of Pakistan where generations of snow leopards return each year to raise their young.
-Secrets of the Maya Underworld – The freshwater pools that dot Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula were believed by the Mayans to be portals to the underworld.  For the first time ever, the BBC Natural History Unit explores this incredible, labyrinthine system of underground rivers.
-Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert – Follow the struggle for survival of two female elephants trying to raise their young in one of the harshest climates on Earth.
-Music only viewing option

ORIGINAL DVD BONUS FEATURES NOW ON BLU-RAY
-110 minutes of behind the scenes footage – one 10-minute behind the scenes production video diary for each episode
-Planet Earth – The Future – This 3-part series looks at what the future may hold for endangered animals, habitats and – ultimately – us.

Planet Earth: Special Edition (Blu-ray)