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on November 11, 2016
Beyond stunning. Watching this was somewhat emotional. The beautiful shots are enhanced by David Attenborough's narrations, and the script (the stories) are really moving. The bonus segments at the end of each episode is really interesting, and the last disc contains bloopers (as well as interviews). Hilarious and really, the amount of time and effort it takes to film these specials should warrant their own documentaries! (we follow the filmographers and the producers as they battle bugs and weather to frame a shot, the negotiations and help they get from the locals and scientists who live with the animals day-in-and-out, etc)
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on February 23, 2013
The title for this review seems a bit much, but let me quickly explain why it's not hyperbole or meaningless oversell. I help at my friends video store, which hosts a giant collection of Blu-ray features. I own many, but I should specify the only Blu-Rays I purchase, mostly due to replay-ability, are nature documentaries. My modest collection boasts over 75 Blu-ray nature documentaries: BBC, Nat-Geo, Discovery and other independent sources. I've been collecting nature Blu-rays since the evening I installed a compatible drive in my computer. The PC is linked via 1080p HDMI connection to a large LCD screen. The reason I'm telling you this personal information is so you know I'm serious about the genre. I'm critical. It takes a lot to blow me away since I've viewed so many astonishing, eye-popping nature documentaries over the years. Other people collect guns, stamps or shoes. Well, I collect nature documentaries.

This is, without question, the best nature documentary ever made.

It's better than Life.

It's better than Planet Earth.

It's the reason why you should own a Blu-ray player and a high definition television.

I pre-ordered this series several months ago. Then, like a child waiting for his package to arrive, I eagerly paced my friends store for the delivery to be made yesterday. I'm an avid follower of anything David Attenborough produces -- a God for us nature doc enthusiasts. If you want to hear the highest degree of natural obsession, but described in as fascinating a way as listening to Indiana Jones tell tales of adventure, listen to Attenborough discuss filming on the extra interview footage, Disk 2. He'll give you a sense of where the genre as a whole has evolved from and how modern technology innovated how we study nature. But the reason why this is so great isn't because Attenborough carries it. It's attributed to the iconic and innovative panoramic and close-up cinematography, the high resolution night-filming, spectacular ecological sequencing, detailed studies and harrowing biological dramas.

The series breaks-down six African regions: the Kalahari, Savannah, Congo, Cape, Sahara and a looking-ahead episode called the Future. Among the intense biological attention, the crew follows most of the unique, rare and well-adapted African creatures, harvesting big questions and stirring the viewer into comprehending the vastness and the unfathomable diversity which exists on the mysterious continent. One of the many incredible scenes in the first episode shows the worlds largest underground lake, beneath the unforgiving Kalahari desert. Attenborough describes how this lake contains a prehistoric fish species that exists nowhere else on the planet and how it survives in such ironic form. Another gem is the EXTRAORDINARY oasis scene, where a breathtaking array of beasts and fowl drink side-by-side at a life-saving watering hole. It's one of the most overwhelming scenes ever captured, I'm not kidding. A Garden of Eden, a bounty of lions, giraffes, ostriches, rhinos, and many other stoic animals all existing for the moment as a unified body.

The series showcases the high, mountainous and remote "islands" where creatures like gorillas and other primates live. Detailing how family dramas are tied to the treacherous struggles of survival in the rain forest. You bare witness to the unique personalities and familial bonds, capturing intimate and rare once in a lifetime moments on camera. You see when the normally introverted and temperamental rhinos come out at night, greet one another and foster relationships with friends. Yes, with friends. You hear how they communicate and witness the body language they present for each other, making it easy, as easy as sympathizing with another human, to understand what the rhinos are thinking. These moments echo throughout the series within various species. It results in casting the beautifully special creatures with a sense of importance and individuality on the planet -- as equal as, and I say this with controversial trepidation, human populations struggle with the same belonging.

I never knew why giraffes had those two tiny horns on their heads before this series, which shows you why in glorious detail as the scene unfolds a cliffhanger moment into an uproarious Cinderella story. There are a few nail-biting, horrifying moments where in the last moment an event turns to favor the underdog, you never see it coming as you prepare to flinch and then you burst into tears and clap like a maniac.

Iconic sweeping panoramic landscapes fill the transitions between the micro-dramas. The vivid wildernesses offer glorious, endless wow-factor. You'll find yourself rewinding and re-watching scenes to maintain the tingly frisson, again and again. Earth-porn at its finest.

As usual, the BBC Concert Orchestra extends and resonates the visual majesty with a spectacularly swelling score. The finest timing represented when the camera slowly creeps over a gaping precipice and the symphony builds into a shivering crescendo.

There are hilarious moments too, like the squirrel dropping its dinner with the kind of attitude and personality you expect from your best friend, he's registering he's been spotted by a leopard, and is about to bolt to his haven. The odd and personality-brimming giraffes are also sources of comic relief throughout Africa--they've quickly risen to be one of my favorite creatures on the planet, all thanks to this series.

It is completely worthy of your time. It has the capacity to change your feelings to favor preservation and natural conservation in all its forms without brow-beating you with guilt trips or "humans are always a problem" shaming. Instead the series tactfully, and rightfully, admires nature and shows you why we should preserve these creatures, habitats and regions. And in that respect, showing is far more influential than telling.

Appropriate for all members of your family and offers a paramount-entrance into the revealing and worthwhile nature-doc collection. It's something every human on the planet should be required to see. This is why you bought your Blu-ray player. And if you do not own a Blu-Ray player, this is the reason you've been searching for to take the plunge.
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on December 31, 2017
Beautiful, informative, excellent! Very clear and crisp Blu-ray video on a wide range of African wildlife and geography.
Although this covers some familiar ground, it also introduces new video and facts. Very memorable. I think I will always remember this one!!
I really got to know how the geography affects climate and then life. I used maps of Africa to follow along. I found that helped a lot.
Some things to look for:
--Antelopes or gazelles running through a mountain gap during a change of topic.
--Drop of water on a leave acting as a lens through which you can see a flying insect.
--Social life of rhinos.
--Kite diving down captured from under water.
--Butterflies flying upstream to meet at a mountaintop.
--Many more.
One of the best!!
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on May 5, 2016
I own a lot of BBC documentaries and anything with David Attenborough just wins my heart, but this is easily becoming one of my all-time favourites. I have not watched every single episode yet, but I look forward to when I can make time to watch this series because every time it I view any of it, it brings a surge of emotions as I get pulled into the beauty of the world. I feel so peaceful and full of love after watching this and other nature documentaries. I am passionate about the world and this series compliments and displays the reasons why very well. Amazingly made documentary.
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on March 21, 2013
The movie starts in the Kalahari Desert first, and uncovers things about the desert that most of us never knew. They also show one perfect scene where so many different animals have congregated close together by a rare source of drinking water. It almost reminds you of the biblical account of the Garden of Eden, with so many different animals getting along so peacefully, until a pride of vicious marauding lions suddenly appear out of nowhere and interrupted the peace. They looked crazed while even attacking each other, before chasing the other peaceful animals away. The show also highlights a group of desert Giraffes, and shows one Giraffe being knocked out in slow motion, by another Giraffe that was competing for a female Giraffe to mate with.

This documentary makes you feel that you're on an actual journey in Africa, all from the comfort of your living room sofa. It is much more than just the same old coverage about wildlife in Africa; this documentary is different because it gives you extensive detailed information about every region they visit. This film shows how the sand dunes in the Sahara desert, is constantly changing its shape in a time-lapse video replay. We also learn for the first time that there is a hidden underground lake in the Sahara Desert that is hundreds of feet deep, which may run the entire length of the desert.

From there the series takes us on a journey to the Savannah, and sheds light on the largest lava lake in the world. This is a six part documentary, and after every part is over they take at least another 10 minutes to explain how they made this series and the video shots they captured, which makes the series even more interesting. With the near perfect video shots, and the perfect lighting effects, this is what sets this film apart from others in the same naturalist field. This is another must have, for your collection of the BBC Earth Series documentaries.
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on March 2, 2016
I loved all of the segments. I loved the spectacular photography. I learned a lot of new things I did not know about this continent and its wildlife. I would highly recommend for anyone to watch. I always love to watch David Attenborough wildlife documentaries as they are always well done and full of information.
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I've watched all the BBC series and routinely watch History channel, National Geographic, etc. This is the most amazing nature documentary out there. The sheer level of detail, camera angles, vivid imagery and story telling are unparalleled in any other documentary of its kind. It is just unbelievable what they've accomplished here--a huge bravo to the production crew who clearly had to have spent soooo many grueling hours to produce each frame in such a series for us to watch. Getting to the most remote areas of Africa and capturing this level of detail in nature doesn't come easy, and their efforts have produced a fantastic result that I will enjoy watching again and again for years!
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on May 17, 2013
Stunning is probably an understatement.
Wildlife films are often "Serengeti-centric"; it takes real imagination and dedication to make a nature film about Africa with a fresh look.
Of course, the photography is superb - that's a given about BBC Earth. The story telling is no less compelling.
And with David Attenborough in the narrator's seat, there isn't much to desire.
I read in one of the reviews that Sir David Attenborough's narration was a minus.
For me, it was the other way around. Maybe it is because he has been at the helm so long, but I firmly believe the conviction and delight in his voice makes all the difference.
My only regret is that the show is a tad too short; I wish there were a few more episodes.
Don't buy the DVD. The Blu-Ray makes a gigantic difference on a big 1080p TV!
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on January 9, 2014
I doubt this will come as a surprise but the cinematography in this show is amazing! I particularly like that they show a small "making of" between each episode. I think this is a nice touch and keeps it relevant to the footage you've just seen. I don't know if this special feature comes on the DVD but you just *have* to buy this in High Definition --- it's spectacular!!!

I would highly recommend this for any wildlife/nature show lover. The kids in my family (ages 8-14) are mesmerised by any of the Attenborough series. I would also recommend Life, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet --- if you've haven't already got them.
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on March 14, 2013
Let me start by saying I am addicted to BBC nature films. I was joking with my brother that my son hears more of David Attenborough's voice than his own father's on a lot of days.

After Planet Earth I was blown away and thought it couldn't get any better and was equally impressed by Frozen Planet. Madagascar is incredible as are the Galapagos, and I've probably seen Wild Pacific 20 times now.

Even after countless hours of watching all of the above and others I was still glued to the TV for the entirety of Africa. There are some disturbing and tear-jerking scenes, but as usual the production is incredible, the narration is perfect, and the footage is unsurpassed. This is my new favorite!
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