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Last Chance to See

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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(Jul 06, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Animals on the verge of extinction


Beloved British comedy legend Stephen Fry follows in the footsteps of his good friend, the late writer Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), along with zoologist Mark Carwardine, to remote regions in search of some of the rarest, most threatened animals on Earth.


Twenty years ago, Carwardine and Adams embarked on a groundbreaking expedition to find some of the world's most endangered animals. This time, Stephen Fry takes up the challenge with Mark to see how those animals have been faring and which, if any, have survived.


From the Amazon's steamy jungles to New Zealand's icy mountain tops, they seek some of the most remarkable creatures on Earth. Last Chance to See is an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking adventure - and a unique insight into the fascinating world that we are in danger of losing.



Episodes: Amazonian Manatee / Northern White Rhino / Aye-Aye / Komodo Dragon / Kakapo / Blue Whale


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Fry, Mark Carwardine
  • Directors: Tim Green, John Paul Davidson, Ben Southwell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BFS Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003LY66PA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,633 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A little more than 20 years ago, sci-fi/comedy writer Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, etc.) joined forces with zoologist Mark Carwardine and traveled the world looking for the "last chance to see" animals at the ragged cusp of extinction. The result was Last Chance to See, one of the finest books I've ever read, and easily the best work of nature/travel/conservation writing.

This BBC series of 6 shows, presented by actor and polymath Stephen Fry and the same zoologist who accompanied Adams, Carwardine, retraces the steps of the earlier expedition in an effort to see how the animals are now faring. I can think of no greater compliment to pay this effort than to proclaim that Adams, who died in May of 2001, would have been "over the moon" to see this movie--although he would undoubtedly be horrified to discover the state of some of the animals he came to cherish, not least the Yangtze river dolphin, which has since been declared officially extinct.

Fry, who was very good friends with Adams is a natural stand-in for the role of wry, wise, innocent, awe-struck and witty commentator that Adams formerly played.
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Usually movies and tv shows that are based on good books never come close to being as good as the original books. Last Chance to See is one of those rare projects that proves that it's actually even possible to do so. Stephen Fry, Mark Carwardine and the others behind this project should be very proud, they did justice to Douglas Adams's adventurous, humorous, and truly poignant book. Mark Carwardine's knowledge and excitement is there to back up Stephen Fry's naivety about and enthusiasm for the world's animals, just as it was 20 yrs ago for Douglas Adams.

To come back, 20 yrs later, and see how the animals from the book have fared were in some cases, like the Yangtze river dolphin, incredibly sad and in others, like the kakapos, incredibly hopeful. Last Chance to See shows how easily and unthinkingly an entire species can be decimated, removing forest to plant palms for oil, but it also shows how hard and diligently people work to save a species. It saddens you to see the damage humans cause but in the end Last Chance to See leaves you with some hope.
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As someone who worked for some years as a volunteer in a zoo, I found Stephen Fry's expedition to try to find animals on the brink of extinction had an extra poignancy. The Species Survival Plan is doing a good job in making sure that zoos are able to preserve a number of rare animals, but this series shows that increasingly captivity is going to be the only place in which we see some of nature's most exotic creations.

Naturally, being Stephen Fry, the series is laced with humor, not all of which is intended. Fry is one of the few people to whom I can point as evidence that there are individuals more clumsy than myself. In the first episode he manages to fall into a boat and shatter his arm, and later, while attempting to entice an aye-aye (a nocturnal lemur) by offering it an egg, Fry ruins the treat when he treads on the egg. All his tribulations (living rough is not one of his preferred lifestyle choices) he endures with stoicism, while his partner, a naturalist, raves about the wonders of the jungle.

It's an educational and entertaining series. The only pity is that Douglas Adams, on whose book the trip was based, couldn't be there too. I'd have loved to see him and Fry on the trail together.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
So I read all the review before getting the blu-ray. I'll admit if there are only a few reviews that I wonder if there's some bias in the reviews. Therefore I felt obligated to write a review to basically say, all the other reviews are right. This is am amazing disc. My family loves this blu-ray. I'll admit that we had never heard of this program until I just happened to find it on Amazon. We love nature documentaries. And we had seen the Into the Wild - John Cleese and Lemurs VHS and thought maybe this would be similar. It's been a very long time since we saw the VHS of Cleese as much as we loved that VHS, this blu-ray was so much better. Stephen and Mark are great together. It's a great mixture of information, emotion, humans, and nature. The other reviews in my opinion are spot on. We've only watched the first disc and really can't wait to start the next one. The only negative I can think of is there's no subtitles. It's not a huge deal but sometimes, there's a lot of background noise so it can be a little hard to hear what they are saying. But this, by no means, is a reason not to get this disc. If you like nature documentaries, regardless of style, you'll like this program.

But as most reviews are of the dvd, let me say that the blu-ray is very good. There are times where it's a little grainy for HD but not detracting. Most of the time it's understandable...evening shots, or when they are using their personal cameras (I'm guessing) for a "video diary." Most of the time the visuals are great. But maybe I'm more forgiving than others as I've seen grainy parts in all the blu-ray nature docs we own (recent more famous examples being Planet Earth, Life, and Human Planet). Though if I had to guess, there were slightly more grainy shots in this blu-ray than the other examples I've mentioned. But again, not detracting enough to make is less enjoyable. Still good visually.
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