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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and full of information
Is it as good as Planet Earth? No. This documentary series doesn't a never-ending overabundance of brilliant imagery. But don't let that dissuade you. If it wasn't for "Planet Earth" everyone would be raving about this set. Because though its visuals aren't always as stunning as that excellent series -- sometimes the screen shows just a guy or two talking in front of a...
Published on July 23, 2008 by Julie Neal

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Another fine effort by Ian Stuart
the selection buttons don't work on my SONY bluray DVD player. Assuming it's not my player, it's difficult to navigate the DVD. that being said, Ian Stuart does a fine job.
Published 13 months ago by michael harmon


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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and full of information, July 23, 2008
By 
Julie Neal (Celebration, Fla.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
Is it as good as Planet Earth? No. This documentary series doesn't a never-ending overabundance of brilliant imagery. But don't let that dissuade you. If it wasn't for "Planet Earth" everyone would be raving about this set. Because though its visuals aren't always as stunning as that excellent series -- sometimes the screen shows just a guy or two talking in front of a washed out sky -- overall "Earth: The Biography" is just as interesting and at times even more informative. The special effects are good, too.

Generally, I'd say this set is great for anyone with even a passing interest in geology, at least if they're over, say, 8.

These are the same shows that recently aired on the National Geographic Channel. There are no bonus features.

Disc 1 has three shows, "Volcanoes," "Atmosphere" and "Ice." Disc 2 adds "Oceans" and "Rare Earth." Each of the first four explains how that particular system works, as well as what happens when it's messed with.

The last show examines a theory that says simple life may actually be common on other planets, but complex life -- i.e., animal life -- requires such a complex sequence of events that we'll never find another human-like population. It goes on to examine how humans are damaging the planet. Did you know each year people cut down enough forest to cover the state of South Carolina?

Everything is presented with plenty of objective, scientific information.

My favorite show is the first one, since it includes the formation of Earth. Did you know scientists think our planet once had a twin? Or that the moon is drifting away from us?

Though the narrator, Dr. Iain Stewart, speaks in a Scottish brogue, I didn't have any trouble understanding him. He's calm and articulate.

By the way, you can't help but be reminded of "Planet Earth" as you watch this. A commercial for it is actually the first thing that comes up when you pop in Disc 1.

Besides "Planet Earth," I'd recommend pairing this up with An Inconvenient Truth. Or a trip to go see Wall-E.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is just amazing, July 23, 2008
By 
This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
I thought I had a decent science education until I saw this spectacular, mind-expanding series. But no. I sat on the couch and watched all five hours of this brilliant presentation and felt I had been robbed in college. The stuff on vulcanology and atmospheric science alone makes this show worth having, but the theories about 'Rare Earth' at the end make it even more special. The photography and recreations are amazing [National Geographic should win some sort of award from the high-def people] and the host is charming. Even middle-school kids will drop their jaws at some of the footage and photography in this show. I have bought at least a half-dozen DVDs for people who need a little science in their lives. Mega-bril!
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems like it should be on that huge screen at Best Buy, July 23, 2008
By 
Julie Neal (Celebration, Fla.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
With vivid, well-composed landscapes and animal shots popping up at least once a minute, this documentary series looks great in Blu-Ray. Even many of the basic shots are really well lit. The CGI effects are cool, too.

Is it as good as Planet Earth? No. These shows are not a nonstop visual extravaganza. But don't let that dissuade you. If it wasn't for "Planet Earth" everyone would be raving about this set. Because though the screen sometimes shows just a guy or two talking in front of a washed out sky, overall "Earth: The Biography" is just as interesting and at times even more informative. And like I said, though it's not all eye candy, there is plenty of it.

These are the same shows that recently aired on the National Geographic Channel. There are no bonus features.

Disc 1 has three shows, "Volcanoes," "Atmosphere" and "Ice." Disc 2 adds "Oceans" and "Rare Earth." Each of the first four explains how that particular system works, as well as what happens when it's messed with.

The last show examines a theory that says simple life may actually be common on other planets, but complex life -- i.e., animal life -- requires such a complex sequence of events that we'll never find another human-like population. It goes on to examine how humans are damaging the planet. Did you know each year people cut down enough forest to cover the state of South Carolina?

Everything is presented with plenty of objective, scientific information.

My favorite show is the first one, since it includes the formation of Earth. Did you know scientists think our planet once had a twin? Or that the moon is drifting away from us?

Though the narrator, Dr. Iain Stewart, speaks in a Scottish brogue, I didn't have any trouble understanding him. He's calm and articulate.

By the way, you can't help but be reminded of "Planet Earth" as you watch this. A commercial for it is actually the first thing that comes up when you pop in Disc 1.

Besides "Planet Earth," I'd recommend pairing this up with An Inconvenient Truth. Or a trip to go see Wall-E.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another EPIC from BBC, November 14, 2008
This review is from: Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Updated: 2nd Feb 2009.

My recent purchase of a Sony Bravia 46" W4500 Series BRAVIA, the Blu-ray version now plays at 1080/24p.

Original review:

In the beginning there was Planet Earth.. now there is Earth: The Biography. As a child I grew up being immersed in the physical geography and the birth of the earth.

Beautifully described via CG on plate tectonics and volcanoes, the destructive power of ice and water, and the vital importance of the the atmosphere.

For those that have watched the Life of Series by David Attenborough, will notice repeated footage those series, as well as repeated footage from Planet Earth, and Ganges.

Despite the various comments that this is a standard definition presentation by BBC, when I play it on my PS3, I am getting 1080i and not 420p, as some have remarked. Not true 1080p, but nonetheless stunning.

Great addition to my collection of BBC and Nat Geo documentaries.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of a resume than a biography ;), August 6, 2008
This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
'Earth - The Biography' is a documentary about Earth's geology, atmosphere, and oceans.
It provides a short overview of how our planet was created but its main focus is on how Earth's natural forces combine to create conditions for life - and how this makes Earth a unique place in the Solar system and 'perhaps in the universe'.

It's a very high quality documentary that is on the same level as 'Planet Earth' and 'Blue Planet' - with great footage and visions of earth.
The guy with the accent is actually very charming, watchable, and non-obtrusive. I'm a non-native speaker and had no problems understanding what he was saying. Besides, there are subtitles.

I only regret that they did not put any special features on the DVD. After watching all five episodes, I really wanted to see a little more.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too much on ecology, too little on geology!, September 2, 2008
This review is from: Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I like the title, no question about that. But, I prefer to see more comprehensive coverage on geology, the true Earth biography, than ecology. For example, there are three types of volcano: Cinder Cone, Composite, and Shield. There is no mentioning of that in the Volcano section. I watched the entire Weather section, didn't see rock cycle or cloud types. The hot spot underneath Yellowstone is the same as the one under Hawaii. A type of its hot spring bacteria helps the explosion of DNA application and human genome project through something called polymerase chain reaction. It would be more exciting to include that. All the 3D computer graphic images and animation are great! I love them! If this series would added more formal science such as geology, meteorology and paleontology, offers more comprehensive presentation on major subjectives of each discipline, it would become more useful to students than just the general audiences.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Earth with science, not opinion, September 7, 2008
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This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
Dr. Stewart's latest contribution to science for the non-scientist continues his refreshing perspectives on the planet earth. If this video does not educate, enthrall, and entice you to learn more about our planet and its fragility, you must be one of those people who will not allow themselves to be confused with facts because your mind is already made up.

Once you get used to Dr. Stewart's Scots accent, his explanations of natural phenomena are remarkable for their clarity and simplicity. Even so, he does not condescend as he shares his wonderment at the most recent scientific discoveries that he presents in ways that compel the viewer to pay attention.

While some may contend that his topic includes "controversial" issues such as global warming, he never makes a statement without offering solid evidence. Indeed, his discussions are replete with references to the scientific recognition that they are theories that continue to evolve as evidence is accumulated. Thus, the only "controversy" would arise from the fact that the accumulating evidence tends to support scientific concerns.

For example, the evidence is uncontrovertible that Greenland's glaciers are melting at a rate never observed in modern times. Even so, Dr. Stewart includes the observation that scientists can only theorize about the consequences because they are unable to follow the melt water through the glacier and under the ice. Hence, scientists continue to explore and ask questions and postulate new theories ... because that is what good scientists do and that is what good science requires.

Anyone think that there is no problem if the frozen tundra warms up? Watch Dr. Stewart singe his eyebrows as he shows that the white stuff under the moss is methane by igniting it. So, how much methane would be released if (or when) the tundra warms up? And what will be the effect of this greenhouse gas? Watch the video.

Regardless of your political views on global conditions, this presentation offers the serious questioner the most recent research available. It could cause you to change your mind -- or, like a good scientist -- it could inspire you to find contrary evidence so that an informed dialogue will help us solve our planet's problems.

Last, but not least, so many interesting facts, theories, and supporting evidence are demonstrated that I was amazed at the organizational skills required to present so much information in only two DVD's. I include this video in my five-star list of videos that includes, among others, Blue Planet, Life on Earth, ... and Dr. Stewart's "Weather" -- which I also highly recommend.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth-The Biography, February 1, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
THE BEST video of the complete history of the earth. Up to date information, very well illustrated, choreographed and narrated. The facts are accurate and generally the accepted versions of human knowledge on the various topics (with one exception: the semi-controversial topic of how the dinosaurs came to demise; Personally, I side with the argument that super volcanoes choked the atmosphere, thus killing all life as opposed to the widely believed in super-meteorite theory on the devastation. You be the judge). Compared to thousands of hours of watching Discovery Channel and The History Channel, this video will give you everything you wanted to know about the earth in 230 minutes. A must watch for science and ecology buffs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know Our Planet, April 12, 2009
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This review is from: Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Since we spend our whole life time on this wonderful planet, why not learn about its origins and events that have led up to its present shape? This excellent, high resolution DVD provides most of the answers by actual photography and understandable graphics and gave me a new perspective and insights into our own world. Highly recommend it - it does not conflict with any other recent info DVD's - rather, it complements it for a well-rounded understanding of our part in the universe. Iain Stewart's narrative is clear and understandable - an important element for an info DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!!, June 2, 2011
By 
Jim (Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Earth: The Biography (DVD)
This BBC series originally shown on the National Geographic Channel differs from the better known series Planet Earth in that the latter is more about the diversity of life on earth and how species are co-dependent and depend upon their environment. Earth The Biography tells how the earth formed and devotes chapters to the roles of volcanoes, atmosphere, ice, oceans and how together they created a rare planet. As host Dr. Stewart takes all over the World to witness formations and phenomena only geological professionals know. We see satellite images of meteor sites, enter an active a volcano, learn that the moon is gradually distancing itself from the earth. We see video of a test pilot who jumped from a balloon some 60 miles into the edge of space and free falled 15 minutes reaching speeds over 600 miles per hour. We learn that without volcanoes there might not be life on earth. There was a time 230 Million years ago when the sun was 30% cooler that the earth was covered with snow and ice. These are just a few of the fascinating life events in earth's history.

The DVD is 230 minutes long and I became totally engrossed in the story. This is a perfect complement to Planet Earth.
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Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray]
Earth: The Biography [Blu-ray] by Various (Blu-ray - 2008)
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