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Madagascar (2011)

93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Executive Producer Mike Gunton (Life) comes a fascinating exploration of one of the most unique habitats in the world, Madagascar! For 65 million years, Madagascar was lost to the world, isolated, undiscovered and untouched by humans. Left to its own devices it became a hotbed of evolution, resulting in the greatest concentration of unique creatures anywhere on the planet. More than 80% of Madagascar's animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth. Recognized as one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots, this is an Alice-in-Wonderland island of eccentric animals, outlandish plants and extraordinary landscapes. It is a truly remarkable island. In this three-part landmark series from the BBC and Animal Planet, viewers will discover what makes Madagascar different from the rest of the world, and how evolution created an island rivaling the Galapagos for mystique, beauty and scientific wonder.

The BBC may not be able to top Planet Earth, the landmark 2006 production that is arguably the finest nature documentary ever made, but they have once again come close with Madagascar. This spectacular three-part series, coproduced with Animal Planet and featuring the familiar voice-over of David Attenborough, reveals the many wonders of the world's biggest island, a place of startling variety in terms of both geography and wildlife. That's due to an event that occurred 60 million years ago, when Africa and India separated, creating the thousand-mile-long island a few hundred miles off the African coast, a place so isolated that more than 80 percent of its animal species can be found there and nowhere else. Left to their own devices, these creatures evolved and diversified to an extraordinary degree, each adapting to its own environment, whether it be the barren mountains that divide Madagascar in half, the hot, arid western side, or the lush rain forest on the eastern side. There are, for instance, some 80 different types of lemur, the dog-faced primate that is the island's most recognizable inhabitant. These include the tiny mouse lemur (weighing in at about two ounces); the child-sized indri; a lemur whose diet consists of bamboo loaded with lethal doses of cyanide; the ghostly white silky sifaka, of which only about 200 remain; and many more. But that's not all. We also see a chameleon about the size of an ant; tenrecs, small, hedgehog-like creatures capable of giving birth to 32 babies in one litter; white, eyeless, cave-dwelling fish that swim upside down; the fossa, a giant mongoose that's the island's biggest predator; and a plethora of other insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and flora. As usual, all of this is breathtakingly photographed, with a clarity and vividness that are only enhanced in the Blu-ray version (each chapter includes about 10 minutes detailing the lengths the filmmakers went to in order to capture their footage, much of it depicting animals and behaviors never photographed before). Of course, as human civilization encroaches inexorably, many of these animals face extinction--all the more reason that this superb documentary belongs in any serious nature lover's collection. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,078 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Madagascar (2011)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Derek Jones on March 11, 2011
Format: DVD
A few BBC wildlife programs are average but the majority are good, very good or exceptionally good. In my opinion "Madagascar" is in the highest category. The series was eighteen months in the making with some difficult and dangerous moments for the cameramen, including a platform high in the trees to film red ruffed lemurs, and the hair-raising nocturnal filming of fossas in the final show. The programs cover both the beautiful and the bizarre, including shell squatting spiders, pygmy chameleons little bigger than ants, Labord's chameleon that lives for only 12 weeks, fish that swim upside-down, giraffe-necked weevils, and lemurs that eat bamboo containing levels of cyanide that would be lethal for other animals. A big plus is that in addition to the fauna and flora we have stunning aerial photography of the varied and spectacular landscapes of the island - mountains, rainforests, rivers, coasts and arid areas.

David Attenborough (as good as ever) provides the narrative, explaining how plants and animals adapted to the environment during the 60 million years the island was cut off from the rest of the world. As for the music, all too often BBC programmes are spoiled for me by excessively loud and inappropriate music. In this case the music, much of it composed specially for the series, actually adds value to it. If I was allowed to keep only one wildlife series I think "Madagascar" might be it even though it does not feature my favourite animals - the big cats.

However, along with the beauty there is a sombre tone. We see the scattered remains of the elephant bird that began to disappear when man arrived.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Dean Wirth on June 13, 2011
Format: DVD
This is a 3 part series, of course there are Lemurs and Chameleons, the most prolific of Madagascar's fauns.
But there is also interesting birds, insects, a tortoise, and a curious blind fish that swims upside down!
Filmed is stark reality blu-ray and narrated off camera by David Attenborough (he does appear briefly at the very beginning and end) it is a great addition to any nature/bbc collection.
The extras are also worth watching, interesting is The Giant Egg, which chronicles Attenboroughs now 50 year old excursion to the island with vintage film clips and newer ones too.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DVD Verdict on July 13, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Judge Russell Engebretson, DVD Verdict -- "This BBC-produced wildlife documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, was filmed over a period of eighteen months. Spanning only three one-hour episodes, Madagascar is far more modest than the epic Earth series, but still delights. Two episodes, "Island of Marvels" and "Lost Worlds" are on Disc One. Disc Two includes the third episode, "Land of Heat and Dust," and a pair of extra features -- "Attenborough and the Giant Egg," in HD, and "Lemurs of Madagascar," in standard definition. Each episode explores a different area of Madagascar. Lemurs are the stars of the show, found all over the island--from the desiccated south to the tropical coasts, and the mountains between. In one area, golden bamboo lemurs subsist on a diet of cyanide-laced bamboo leaves; other lemurs cross razor-like mountaintops to reach precious pools of water; while another species deftly navigates through a forest of thorn-covered trees. Although a fertile area for wildlife photography, Madagascar is evidently a tough environment in which to film. Ten-minute clips at the end of each episode document the camera crew's difficulty in capturing images of these elusive animals without frightening them away, and the horrendous days-long rainfalls that brought production to a halt until the weather cleared. After seeing the conditions they faced, my respect for the camera crew's tenacity ratcheted up several notches. The 1.78:1 1080i image is good with a few notable exceptions.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Fitzherbert Farnsworth on October 31, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sir David Attenborough's nature presentations are simply the gold standard of the genre. He himself is a treasure as are the creatures he profiles. This DVD set takes us to the magical island of Madagascar. We see a panoply of curious sights and sounds including several species of Lemur. These critters are guaranteed to melt even the hardest of hearts with their beautiful faces and mischievious chicanery. Also present are a great variety of chameleon - a smallish member of the lizard family, I believe, who are also quite winsome but in a different way.

In several spots I found myself wishing for less musical accompaniment. The music, as it is, is suitable in style but I prefer to hear the natural "music" of the surroundings: the crunch of leaves under a lizard's foot, the wind in the trees, the rain, the animal calls ...& so forth. These are still present with the music overlaid, but I prefer only the natural sounds alone.
Aside from this, I have no complaints and can give this set my highest recommendation.
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