I am a huge David Attenborough fan and also happen to love and respect Sigourney Weaver. What fantastic luck to have both of these gifted individuals--each possessing great strength of character-- lending their talents to what is without doubt the greatest natural history series ever produced. I've watched both versions--each set given as a birthday gift by family/friends who knew I wanted this. It was just pure coincidence that I got both the UK and USA versions. Rather than return one, I decided to keep them both. After watching each one repeatedly, I can assure you that each is wonderful in its own way. Owning the two versions gives me the best of both productions.
Attenborough's style and voice are, of course, timeless. As the grand master of natural history films, it is only fitting that he should narrate this greatest of natural history series. And he doesn't disappoint. Listening to his work on Planet Earth is like having nature's wonders personally vouchsafed to you by a trusted and and very wise old friend. The sequences are edited in slightly different order in the UK version. The script also varies from the version delivered by Ms. Weaver. The UK version also has much meatier Behind the Scenes sequences--titled "Planet Earth Diaries".
The Weaver version has the much televised and admittedly thrilling opening music (with choir). The UK version could definitely benefit by including this stunning addition to the score. And how does the star of Gorillas In The Mist--herself a dedicated conservationist-- stack up against the dean of nature films? In a word-- brilliantly. I think Weaver's voice work here is perfection. Of course, she isn't David Attenborough--- and this is exactly what makes her contribution fresh and great. There is something in her delivery perfectly adapted to the great silences and spaces of wilderness. Her timing and flair for humor also enrich her contribution to this landmark series. A magnificent job, Sigourney.
For those of you who can't decide between versions--get both and savor the differences. Each set has something wonderful in store!
Just to add my two cents worth... I am a science teacher, and have been ordering and showing Sir David Attenborough's nature documentaries for years. He is wonderful, educated, passionate and even though he pronounces words like 'algae' differently from how we do, I have yet to have a student not understand him. In fact, when I poll my student as to which films they like, they overwhelmingly reply that they like the "British guy movies"!
I would not presume to try and disrespect Ms. Weaver, I'm sure she does a fine job, but I look for nature films by searching for Sir Attenborough as the narrator first, and everything else is a distant second.
If you are not familiar with his work, they play the "Blue Planet" series on TV fairly often. I bet once you hear his voice you will recognize it, he has been foremost in this field for years and years.
I've seen many comments about the 'accents'. And it seems quite funny to me. Americans unable to understand English accent. I'm from Turkey and I can understand both. Add the Australian, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and many more accents of the world. And I learned English when I was 12 not 2 or 3 like you did. Besides the main point is: Planet Earth is a BBC documentary and the English (Sir David) version is the original one. The real one. Plus Sir David is in the business of producing and narrating documentaries of nature since before most posters were even born. The rest, to me, seems a little bit unnecessary to argue on. Get the 'Original' one and enjoy it!
No don't get the original one unless you have heard a sample first. I can understand attenborough but for $50 i want to get the version that is best for me as should you. I'm not saying that either one is better, but dont assume that you will enjoy the attenborough version having only seen the weaver one.
For those Americans wondering what David Attenborough's voice sounds like, go to www.bbc.com. On the left hand side there's a search bar. Type in his name and on the next page click the "BBC Audio & Video" link to narrow your results. You will find numerous sound/video clips which feature him doing some of his nature commentaries. Then go to www.discovery.com, do a search for Sigourney Weaver. On the next page, among the "Video Results", there are several clips about her revisiting the site for the Gorillas in the Mist film she did a couple of decades ago. Have a listen and decide for yourself. And for everybody getting angry at everybody else, it's a matter of opinion. Get over it. Is chocolate or vanilla better? That question would produce an arguement about as meaningful as this one.
Agree completely. It is embarrassing that so many Americans apparently can't understand an aristocratic-British accent like David Attenborough's (as opposed to a heavy Cockney accent, which even many Brits can't fathom). Personally I was overjoyed to find that Attenborough narrates the original BBC production; I found Sigourney Weaver to be bland. She is a fine actress but good narrators, women or men, have special vocal qualities that Weaver doesn't have.
Agreed. Sir Davids presentation is also my preference although I don't agree with so many people saying such bad and undeserved things about Weavers narration. I think the series would have been best left alone since it was utterly perfect to begin with but the fact that an American narrator exists isn't bad in either. I just wish it was more of an option rather than what it is. Seriously, they take 5 years and all that time to produce this series and cannot think about DUAL AUDIO?
"Seriously, they take 5 years and all that time to produce this series and cannot think about DUAL AUDIO?"
There is a good reason for this, it is a BBC production. This means it was meant for a British audience, and therefore all they were concerned about was making the program for the British public. The Discovery Channel saw the program and decided to buy the rights to show it in America, in order to "americanise" the program they thought it best to have an American narrator and edit it for adverts.
So its a bit unfair for you to have a go at them for spending 5 years and not getting an american version as it wasn't made for American television.
Does no one else remember this "David guy's" amazing series (shown in the US on PBS) "Life on Earth" in the late 1970's / early 1980's?? I'm only (!) 27 and to this day I distinctly remember it being one of the best documentary series I've ever seen. That, James Burke's "Connections" and the Japanese NHK "Silk Road" series are all amazing, as is "Planet Earth". If you like Planet Earth at all, I implore you to watch any and all of these other series. Young as I am, I'm appalled at the ignorance in some of these replies, but that's OK.. Get informed, start living the life of the mind more, and appreciate the wonder of our wold for what it is !!
I really wanted to thank M. Smith for the comment. I came on this site wondering why the version I bought did not have Weaver as the narrator (and I admit that I was a bit disappointed); but all that I found was a bunch of bickering and only a handful of helpful comments. It is normal to have differing opinions and things would generally be boring without that. My personal reason has nothing to do with accents. I am american and watch many different shows in many different languages and/or accents. For me, I found that the lack of narration allowed me to reflect more on the beauty of the cinematography without having to take in a bunch of extra verb-ig. Overall, both versions are stunning and I would not let any of the bantering going on here sway you over your own better judgement.
Most people like David Attenborough's narration, because he has narrated nature documentaries almost his whole life and you can tell. He's a pioneer of this kind of documentary, not an actor, and so his way of narrating things is unique. Now, if you can't understand what he says, that's a whole different matter. It has nothing to do with his merit or experience. He speaks understandable English, maybe that's because that's where the language you speak in the U.S. originally came from. And by the way, it's spelled "definitely", not "deffinately"... that explains a lot.
Your User ID explains much of why you're being so deffensive and insulting...
Which does not make you any better.
If you must know... i did watch "Blue Planet" on discovery yesterday and if David Attenborough was in fact the narrator in this particular documentary, he did a very good job, (yes, it was understandable English) and well spoken.
But with all due respect, many must admit not all British accents are as good or clear as Attenborough's, most are very distorted.
You might want to "proof read" my words and correct those which are spelled "incorrectly" now...
Well, I can't blame people for being touchy, disliking something due to an accent is touchy in a different way.
I'll bring another side to this whole debate though. I originally saw the Discovery Channel version, had never seen Blue Planet and saw the version with David afterwards. I still preferred Sir Davids narration though. I didn't feel that Sigourney properly conveyed the feel of the scenes, it felt too much like she was just reading the script.
Although I am unable to agree with some of your comments, I must say that you seem to have chosen a good topic for discussion (I don't know whether this was by accident or design). Nevertheless, here we are almost 3 months and 46 posts since your initial post and still 'going strong'.
The Planet Earth series is presented well in both formats, though Attenborough's contains more information, which at times is witty and charming. While I, too, viewed Planet Earth for the forst time on the Discovery Channel (with Weaver as narrator), I preferred to purchase the BBC version since it was cheaper on Amazon (you can only get the 'American' version on Discovery Channel's website for $80).
And while they both do a great job, and perhaps you can't sometimes understand Attenborough, I find it comical you said 'real english' for Sigourney Weaver. Where do you think English came from? New York?
Dual audio is a wonderful idea, but it won't work in this case because they aren't narrating the same video. Discovery cut bits and pieces here and there to make room for commercials, resulting in a video presentation which is 50 minutes shorter than the BBC version. The edited video and the original narration no longer fit together. This is one of the reasons they had to re-record the narration for the Discovery channel. Although I love David Attenborough, I have no problem with Sigourney Weaver as a narrator (this is hardley her first gig as one) and enjoyed watching this on Discovery. Due to BBC/Discovery contract agreements, however, you will have to buy this elsewhere if you want the Weaver narration.