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The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey - The Complete Series

17 customer reviews

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(Jul 26, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jacques Cousteau Odyssey, The: The Complete Series (DVD)

The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey includes all 12 episodes of the 1978 television series featuring the research adventures of Cousteau, a celebrated documentarian and public conscience of mankind's stewardship of our oceans. Alongside his son Philippe Cousteau, Jacques's adventures begin with an ambitious expedition (on Cousteau's famous Calypso ship and a seaplane called the Catalina) following the course of the Nile River from Central Africa to the Mediterranean, investigating the historic, cultural, and social impact the 4,000 mile waterway has had on numerous peoples and animals. In true Cousteau fashion, the two-part program also looks at the ways in which human changes and developing technology are having a profound, often negative effect on the Nile's ecosystem. Among the show's strangest and most haunting images is a series of eerie, dark columns spiraling up from the river's surface. A closer look reveals they are made up thousands of flies, easy pickings for hundreds of birds that come looking for a feast.

"Calypso's Search for Atlantis" is an equally unforgettable episode in which Cousteau lends his resources to the quest for answers to an ancient mystery: Was there really an Atlantis, or was it a folk legend or allegory passed along by Plato? Whatever the answer, Cousteau's team turns up some startling evidence of advanced stone formations lost beneath the sea off of islands near Crete. Underwater images of ancient sunken ships also in the area--a veritable graveyard of commercial transport spanning thousands of years--are spooky and fascinating. Also worth watching are "Time Bomb at Fifty Fathoms," about pollutants in the ocean; "Search for the Brittanic," a stirring piece about the mystery behind the enormous, British passenger ship sunk during World War I; the fantastic "Blind Prophets of Easter Island"; and the weird "Clipperton: The Island Time Forgot," a sensational story of human isolation and abuse in a desolate place. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • All 12 episodes from the 1978 season

Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 640 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007GP70K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,435 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

188 of 191 people found the following review helpful By dooby on April 27, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just as David Attenborough sparked for many an interest in wildlife and natural history, Jacques Cousteau's many televised voyages inspired in others a love for the sea and for exploration in general. Cousteau is famed together with Emile Gagnan as the co-inventor of the aqualung (SCUBA). His four-decade long series of voyages encompassed the globe and brought to homebound audiences the wonders and joys of the undersea world. The story begins way back in 1950 when he converted a WW2 minesweeper into what became the most famous research vessel of our time, the Calypso. Calypso not only sailed all the world's oceans but made its way right into the heart of America, sailing up the St. Lawrence Seaway and exploring the Great Lakes in the early 1980s, traversing the Mississippi/Missouri river system in 1986 and embarked on one of the great pioneering surveys of the Amazon in the 1982-83 season. Calypso's long journey finally ended on the other side of the world when it sank off the island of Singapore in 1996. In its day, it was so famous that Country singer John Denver wrote a song in tribute to it. In 1997, barely a year after the sinking of Calypso, Cousteau himself died.

Cousteau received numerous awards throughout his lifetime, including the Croix de Guerre during WW2. He was also made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) for his work in the French Resistance. He was eventually elevated to the level of Commander of the Legion of Honour for his later services to science. He was one of the few foreigners inducted into America's National Academy of Science. In 1985, he was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Bubbles from Below on March 22, 2006
Format: DVD
I agree with all the other reviews. As a fan of Cousteau's stuff from way back, I was thrilled to get the set, and disappointed by the complete lack of restoration. Sound is good, but the colors are badly red-shifted on several of the episodes.

Hard to say how much of this is Warner's lackluster effort, versus the endless legal mess which has engulfed the Cousteau Society since Cousteau's death (not to mention the nasty lawsuit against Jean-Micheal when his father was alive). This is also why we may never see the Silent World and the other early classics on DVD. Reminds me of the problems associated with Charlie Chaplin's estate.

Nonetheless, I got them because, as I look into the WayBack Machine, I can see that the Cousteau films (most notably The Undersea World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau) were what inspired a young kid to get SCUBA certified and eventually get a degree in Oceanography. So yes, film is a powerful medium, but shame on those responsible for not giving us restored, or at least, better, prints.
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188 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Ointment Covered Fly on June 18, 2005
Format: DVD
OH MY GOD! WHAT IS GOING ON? Who in Hell do these studios think they are, playing these games with the DVD releases of classic television? I swear it's time for a government investigation of a conspiracy to defraud the American consumer. What they're doing is selling us the same product multiple times, under the guise of giving us improved versions each time, when all along they have the resources to do it right the first time. It's not a new story. First they sold us LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, then CDs, then digitally remastered CDs, then CDs with bonus tracks & expanded liner notes, then enhanced CDs with video playable on computers, and so on. And yes, we get what we deserve when we go to them, rushing up eager to get pushed around, as Rod Serling said, but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Okay. Specifics: Get your VHS and the new DVD of "Calypso's Search For Atlantis" ready to compare. Roughly half an hour into part 1, there's a sequence wherein the crew is shown readying their new breathing apparatus. In the original broadcast (the VHS version), the men are shown sampling the air before lowering the device. One calls it "mountain air", another judges it "antique". It's a great moment, humorous and memorable. Now watch the DVD. THE SCENE ISN'T THERE. IT WAS CUT OUT. IT APPEARED IN THE VHS VERSION, FOR GOD'S SAKE, BUT WAS EDITIED FROM THIS DVD RELEASE! Check the running time of the VHS version: 58 minutes. Now look at the running time on the DVD edit: 51 MINUTES!!!!! It's the same story on the rest of the DVDs, the episodes having been cut in some cases down to a mere 48 minutes!! WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Dr. BT on May 6, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Five Stars for content from documentary BUT One Star for:

1. package is too bulky and needs to be slimed-down in a slim case packaging

2. picture quality and colors are terrible! I thought I was watching something from an old VHS tape rental. They could at least re-mastered it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By notmicro on May 21, 2006
Format: DVD
As others have mentioned, the picture-quality of this series on DVD is very poor. This is because it was originally shot in 16mm, using average-quality film-stock and a hand-held camera. The result is like looking at someone's poor-quality color home-movies from years ago. This gets worse when the DVDs are viewed up-converted on a modern hi-def TV, where the dismal quality becomes glaringly obvious (we are badly spoiled by state-of-the-art video-quality from recent nature-documentaries such as the stupendous "Blue Planet"). To make it worse, the editing is rather slap-dash, and the pacing often slow and boring. The result is something more dated and nostalgic, rather than informative.

Also, the run-time of the episodes has been cut down from the originals, which means that these are the versions which were edited down to fit in an hour of commercial television, and allow the time required for advertisements.
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