Customer Review

852 of 901 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new appreciation for the wonder that surrounds us! Show it to your children..., April 21, 2007
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This review is from: Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series (DVD)
Never have I been so moved by a series to exclaim in wonder and actually shed tears of joy at the beauty that surrounds us on this wonderful planet.

I have been watching it on Discovery HD Theater when it premiered in March. The first episode "Pole to Pole" set the tone by showing the range of life and species that exist on this planet. The subsequent episodes delve into the habitats one by one. Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, Deserts, Ice Worlds, Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forests and Deep Ocean are the subsequent episodes. This is one series that has to be seen to be believed of what the intrepid cameramen of BBC/Discovery Channel have been able to capture through their sheer perseverance in remote locations. The HD technology has captured some scenes and images never seen before and some seen before but never with this clarity and beauty. 5 years, 62 countries and 204 locations is what it took to make this series, and the result is a lifetime TV series.

This is one series that fascinated my kid as much as it amazed me. She wanted to watch her cartoons but the moment the episode began she was captivated. Both of us shared together the wonder that is our Planet and it was she who brought up the subject of what we might be doing to it by our actions. We cried when we saw how polar bears have begun to drown as ice melts faster every year. The image of one lone bear trying to walk on ice but falling into the slushy waters, and having to swim longer distances to capture food and finally dying with exhaustion was heart breaking. The series makes no references to the present conditions, just in passing as with the polar bear. I think the directors and producers of the series just wanted to show us the beauty of the natural world, the fight for survival of several animals even when there is no climactic change. And as we keep watching and are filled with awe and wonderment that we're lucky enough to live on this planet, we begin to appreciate quietly in our hearts how we need to change today to ensure that we save our planet.

That is what my daughter felt on her own, she asked me why we were not doing more to save our natural world and I did not have any good answers. The last 3 episodes, Planet Earth: The Future delve deeper into these issues, which I haven't had a chance to see yet.

I watched a clip of David Attenborough's version video on the web before I started watching the series with Sigourney Weaver's narration, and I was disappointed by her blandness and lack of depth. I bought this set like many others to listen to Sir David's narration. I was torn between the regular DVD set and the HD DVD though. This series is good enough to make me buy an HD DVD player just to be able to watch it in its true form! However, the regular set has the Future series and the Planet Earth diaries which the HD set does not have. I loved the Planet Earth Diaries (or behind the scenes) with cameramen, it made a fascinating documentary on it's own, and wished some were longer. If they had the extra material in the HD DVD set, it would have been my first choice.

I had saved the Discovery HD Theatre epidodes on my HD Cable box and I was able to compare their image quality with this Standard DVD version playing on an upconverting DVD player. The Discovery Theater images were crystal clear, and you could literally see each grain of sand on the sea bed or each crevice on a rock face. The Standard DVD looked pretty good when upconverted to 720p and if I had not seen the HD version I would have been quite amazed with the image quality. Right now I've been spoilt by the Discovery Theater version. If you're considering the HD version it's a great choice if you have an HD DVD/BluRay player. You'll probably not see a better HD disc. This series was shot completely in HD format. From my experience in the media industry I can tell you that this is a very, very expensive format to shoot in especially given the 5 years that it took to make this series. Most television is shot in a regular digital format and then upconverted to the HD format later. That gives great images but they cannot compare to something shot totally in HD. That is the reason the image quality of this series is spectacular. In HD they were able to capture the action which when replayed in slow-motion also stays crystal clear. Therefore you have breathtaking images of a shark capturing its prey (and many others) in slo-mo.

This really is the set to buy. It's like a living documentation of the beauty of our earth, some of which was starting to disappear right as the cameras were rolling. Perhaps, that is why BBC and Discovery spared no cost to produce this series and it is a masterpiece.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 2, 2007 2:55:00 PM PDT
Does anyone why Discovery put Sigourney Weaver's narration instead of David Attenborough's version?

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2007 4:14:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2007 4:15:17 PM PDT
ttarkA113 says:
Because they had to shorten the episodes to fit in commercial time. They couldn't use David Attenborough's narration because on the segments that had been left out you would miss parts that would tie some of the series together. So, they had to write a new script, and get a new narrator.

Why they chose Sigourney Weaver, I don't really know for sure. Other people, on have said that she is an avid environmentalist now, so that may have something to do with it. And, they also are selling their Discovery channel version, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, at

Posted on May 10, 2007 10:50:18 AM PDT
V. Garner says:
I have the same question as the original reviewer of this BBC "Standard Edition" DVD. Can anyone answer this question:

Can someone tell me if the Standard DVD version is going to look as good as the Discovery HD Theater broadcast if I use an upconverting DVD player to view it on my HD TV?

Thanks in advance...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2007 6:24:56 PM PDT
I'd say that the answer to your question is ummmmm No. If you want to see an HD version, get an HD DVD.

Posted on Aug 26, 2007 8:55:22 AM PDT
Ape says:
The only comment I'd make on this excellent review is that I think it's the cameramen of the BBC you should be thanking, not those of the Discovery Channel....

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2007 11:49:21 PM PDT
ZenWoman says:
Thanks Ape. My understanding was that this was a collaboration between DC and BBC. There were 40 different camera teams shooting in different locations for this series. With so many teams they must have used the best camera people around the world, most of them would probably be freelancers who were contracted for this series. Some freelancers who work frequently for Discovery Channel on their nature series were part of this production, although they might have been contracted by BBC.

Posted on Dec 5, 2007 2:53:23 PM PST
Question - I want to buy this series for grandkids christmas gifts. Not sure whether they all have HD def DVD players, or plans to get one. If I buy the Hi def version, will it play on standard DVD players (obviously not in hi def - but maybe someday they will upgrade, and wish they had the hi-def version)?

Is the Discovery HD version with Sigourney Weaver available through Amazon - or only directly through the Discovery Channel?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2007 10:58:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2009 3:01:08 PM PDT
ZenWoman says:
The HD DVD set will NOT play on standard DVD players at all. You need to buy the regular DVD version.

I bought both regular and HD DVD version (and an HD DVD player). I bought the regular version as it had the Planet Earth diaries and the HD DVD version because it was a visual treat. But now HD DVD format has been replaced by Blu-Ray and I must buy this series a third time....Bummer!

The Sigourney Weaver edition is only available from Discovery Channel as per my knowledge. I have seen both Sigourney Weaver's edition and this one.
BBC version has better narration as you can hear the interest and passion in David Attenborough's voice, Sigourney Weaver's narration seems very monotonous by contrast and has a really soporific effect on me. But that's my personal opinion, some reviewers seem to like Sigourney better.

Posted on Dec 7, 2007 10:36:45 PM PST
Napy Sabre says:
I think it is important to remark that this series is the same as the one advertised on the Discovery CHannel, I got confused because thiers show the Discoveru Channel logo and this one show the BBC logo , is it kind of confusing, Thanks to one of the reviews IO realizaed both are the same .. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008 7:51:03 PM PST
The series is the same series, yes, but I have read many forums in which users claim the BBC set has a better picture quality than the Discovery release, allegedly due to some sort of post-production processing and transfer. I don't know the details. I have not personally been able to compare the two, but the issue might warrant some online research if the possible difference in picture quality is important to you.

Note: The difference in quality I'm talking about is between the BBC Blu-Ray release and the Discovery Blu-Ray release.
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