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Life in the Undergrowth


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Life in the Undergrowth (Dbl DVD) (WS)

Amazon.com

By getting up close and personal with Life in the Undergrowth, this extraordinary BBC series sets a new standard of excellence in wildlife cinematography. Hosted by veteran nature expert David Attenborough and utilizing the latest advances in macrophotography, the five-part series is dedicated to bugs of all shapes and sizes, from microscopic gnats to cave-dwelling millipedes so large they can capture bats in mid-flight and feast for hours thereafter! The patience involved in filming such previously unseen marvels must have been grueling (as confirmed by producer Mike Salisbury in a splendid bonus interview), but the results are nothing less than astonishing, with a parade of sequences so impressive that even insect-haters will pause in amazement. With an emphasis on reproduction and mating behaviors, each program focuses on a different, generalized group of creatures, many of them never filmed before, so that lay-persons and entomologists will be equally enlightened by discoveries made in the process of filming.

As always, Attenborough serves as an expert witness, cordial, fearless, and quintessentially British as he explains what we're seeing, from the nocturnal fluorescence of scorpions (glowing at night in ultraviolet light, they perform a mating dance playfully described as "a nuptial pas de deux") to the mysterious, 17-year life cycle of the cicada. Throughout, we see everything, both frightening and beautiful, from an intimate, bug's-eye view, in detail so vividly colorful that you'll never view the insect world in quite the same way again. (Likewise for the diverse variety of critters on view in episode 3: "The Silk Spinners," which according to Salisbury is capable of curing arachnophobes from their irrational fear of spiders.) Just when you think Life in the Undergrowth couldn't get any more fascinating, it does: episode 4, "Intimate Relations," shows how many insects symbiotically depend on other species for food, shelter, or completion of their reproductive cycles, and episode 5, "Supersocieties," focuses on the social complexities of insect colonists like ants and termites. Enough to give you the creeps for days, you say? Think again, for after seeing Life in the Undergrowth (a perfect companion piece to the Nova episode "The Unknown World"), you may find yourself in the garden, on your knees, eager for a better look at the countless millions of tiny creatures that surround us every day. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

Other: Interactive Program Elements "Wildlife on One"Other: Interactive Program Elements "Wildlife on One"Other: Interactive Program Elements "Wildlife on One"

Product Details

  • Actors: David Attenborough
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 250 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EBD9W6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,507 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Life in the Undergrowth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

I am dumb-founded by the production quality of this DVD.
Maha-Guru
True to the style of all of his other "Life" series, Attenborough opens a world that is completely unseen by the higher mammals.
Haven Maven
Wonderful photography, very interesting information and great for all ages.
Ellen L Boerner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 188 people found the following review helpful By dooby on May 31, 2006
Format: DVD
This is a beautiful documentary series. Sir David Attenborough's latest release is a 5-part documentary on terrestrial invertebrates (as opposed to marine invertebrates which are not covered here) with a major emphasis on insects and to a lesser extent, spiders, with a passing glance at snails, slugs and worms which actually only feature in the first episode. While many of the species he showcases can be found in and around your neighbourhood gardens, he still criss-crosses the globe to highlight the diversity of forms and habitats that related species occupy across our planet. He is helped by advances in photography, especially ultra-high-speed photography, microphotography and high-resolution infra-red photography and the new high-definition video which can present it in such spectacular detail on DVD. These highly detailed images are truly gorgeous to look at and make you wish this series was at least twice as long.

The 5 episodes (50 mins each) are:
Ep 1: Invasion of the land - A very brief description of how the invertebrates moved from water to land and the adaptations they underwent during the transition.
Ep 2: Taking to the air - Focusing on insects and their conquest of flight
Ep 3: The Silk Spinners - On invertebrates that make use of silk, including insects but focusing mostly on spiders
Ep 4: Intimate Relations - On symbiotic, parasitic and commensal relationships between various invertebrate species and between invertebrates and plants.
Ep 5: Supersocieties - On insects that form colonies and supercolonies - bees, wasps, ants, termites.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Donat Agosti on May 29, 2006
Format: DVD
This is certainly the best and most exciting movie on invertebrates (and indeed life on Earth) with stunning shots, details on the biology of many species and macrophotography which even I as a specialist haven't seen, and I could not see with my usual equipment. Indeed, almost any sequence has its unprecedented merit from an esthetical point of view, as well as from a scientific.

Rarely in my live, I would be watching movies during my precious business hours. It makes you addicted to invertebrates and their private lives.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Christian Skorik on August 3, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm a biology major at Wesleyan University, and I have never, EVER seen a more fair, true and beautifully detailed representation of insect life. This documentary should be seen by everyone, as it would foster much more of an appreciation and respect for the insect life on this planet that outnumbers us by a factor of billions. A must see for anyone and everyone.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Lucas on January 6, 2007
Format: DVD
It was a long time coming. My all-time personal favorite documentary series, "The Blue Planet," has finally been toppled from its throne as King of Nature Films. From the second "Life in the Undergrowth" opens, you'll sit absolutely mesmerized as a gorgeous and wonderfully alien world unfolds before you.

From a ridiculously beautiful shot of a snail's eye to dragonflies filmed in super slow-motion; from bizarre bioluminsecent cave-dwelling grubs to a brutal war waged between a phalanx of African ants and their termite conquests, the five episodes span the history of land-dwelling invertebrates on Earth, each dragging you deeper and deeper into the bizarre microcosm living in the leaf litter in your backyard.

"Life in the Undergrowth" is simply beautiful. There's no other way to phrase it. A film revolving around the tiny multi-legged horrors that creep about largely unseen has no right to be this overwhelmingly pretty, but it is. I sat, jaw agape, through the entire 5 hours on my initial viewing, and have since rewatched the DVDs perhaps 15 times since my purchase.

It's perhaps not as long as I would have liked, nor is the coverage exhaustively comprehensive, but whatever this series may lack in terms of breadth, it more than compensates for with sheer eye-candy.

Buy it, watch it, love it. You will be transfixed.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on September 9, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
David Attenborough is probably the best around when it comes to natural history programs. His other series have always been outstanding whether they deal with birds, mammals, sea creatures, penguins or anything else. Particularly great was his LIFE ON EARTH series. This series is in the same vein of greatness.

Although it is mostly about insects, it is cot completely about insects. The theme is invertebrate life on the land. Due to sheer numbers, that reduces to mostly being about insects but there are some nice asides.

The series is divided into five programs, each with its own theme.

The first deals with the colonization of the land. This program has the most variety in terms of differing types of creatures.

The second deals with the development of flight and looks at the ways insects fly.

The third deals with the making of silk. While this is primarily the domain of spiders, other insects make this remarkable material as well.

The fourth looks at strange relationships between the "bugs" and other bugs or other life. Parasites and symbionts are the order of the day here.

The final show examines the great hive cultures of wasps, bees, ants and termites.

The quality of the ideography is outstanding throughout. Recent advances in lenses and electronics make possible this new view of the small scale world. As with all of Attenborough's work, this is a masterpiece.
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Will Life in the Undergrowth ever come out on Bluray??
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Dec 5, 2010 by S. Velasquez |  See all 4 posts
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