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Galapagos (BBC) (DVD)
The inspiration for Darwin's theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands are a living laboratory, a geological conveyor belt that has given birth to and seen the death of many species of plants and animals. As the western islands rise up from the sea offering a chance of life, the eastern islands sink back beneath the waves guaranteeing only death. Between the two are the middle islands; fertile, lush land in its prime that contains an incredible diversity of life. Nowhere else on the Earth are the twin processes of creation and extinction of species so starkly apparent... see it all unfold before your eyes in this stunning series filmed entirely in high definition from the BBC and the National Geographic Channel.]]>
While its title may be superfluous, Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World is a beautifully filmed journey into "the islands of the tortoise." Located due west of Ecuador, the Galapagos islands are full of gorgeous scenery and exotic wildlife. And this 150-minute documentary shows it all, thanks to stunning cinematography shot from all viewpoints--the air, sea and, of course, land. The collection is both soothing and exhilarating as it allows viewers to peek in on mating albatrosses (which are monogamous), penguins fishing, and surprisingly graceful giant tortoises swimming in the ocean. The filmmakers also manage to capture a ferocious volcanic eruption that is amazing in its clarity. The problem with many documentaries lies in the narration. A documentary filmmaker hits the jackpot when he is able to get someone like Sigourney Weaver, whose crisp narration fits in beautifully with the sweeping footage in Planet Earth. While Tilda Swanton lends a relaxing quality to Galapagos, her voice at times is a bit too lulling to hold the viewer's interest. The writing also borders on melodramatic, with talk of the simmering sea and such. With visuals as stunning as this, hyperbole is unnecessary. Charles Darwin has described the Galapagos as a world within itself, and it is said that the islands were one of his inspirations for his book The Origin of Species. While the film doesn't clearly explain why the Galapagos are unlike any other place on earth, it does showcase a destination that is unlike what most of us know. --Jae-Ha Kim
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I really enjoyed the beautiful site of liquid lava, the beautiful red hot, or roseate looking, and orange colors shooting up into the air as it is rebuilding these Islands. The underwater scenes are crystal clear, and at times it actually looks like a real underwater scene. This movie has a good narrator who is easy to listen to, and she carefully explains the wildlife, and the surroundings to you. Most of the overhead shots looking down onto the Islands, give you a wider view of the enormous size of some of these Islands.
This BBC Video is a 'must have' for your HD documentary library. Although I miss the familiar voice of David Attenborough (Planet Earth and Life), the narration by Tilda Swinton is refreshingly different.
With giant five hundred pound, one hundred and fifty year old tortoises, marine iguanas and even flamingoes inhabiting these islands, you'll be watching this blu-ray again and again!
'Galapagos' is simply enthralling, capturing the same magic as the legendary Planet Earth Series, in one 25GB blu-ray disc. The 1080p video quality is simply awesome!
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
The visuals are absolutely stunning. No other word will do. The HD detail is magnificent and the beauty of these islands probably could never be captured better. Obviously, going there in person would be unbeatable...but until then, this disc will serve.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the discs from an educational level. I learned a lot about the geology and biology of the place, and "met" many creatures I was only glancingly familiar with. The footage of the Marine Iguanas diving below the choppy ocean to eat was a true high point in my lifetime viewing...no exagerration. That acts of such awkward beauty take place regularly on our planet is pretty amazing to me.
Newly minted Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton provides suitable quiet, respectful, "vedy British" narration.
Only gripe: because this disc is actually several episodes, there is some repetition of material presented. You get to hear the geologic history of the islands a few times. It's a fairly minor quibble...and absolutely does not deter me from recommending.
When I watched episode 1, my 20 year old son was around. He was fixing to leave for the evening to hand out with friends...but ended up glued to the sofa for the whole episode. The next night, my 15 year old daughter griped and moaned about watching an episode...but sure enough...five minutes later she was entranced. This is really good stuff...made even more remarkable by HD.
As others have pointed out, if you watched Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray], GALAPAGOS take you to the next level! The narration, visual photography, the sound and the context of the entire idea is just mesmerizing.
To show how much i was into this, i had just come back from a 16 hour shift (this week has been like this all 5 days) i came back and found this amongst other amazon goodies. I was looking forward to it but was not expecting what i saw. I played it in and there i was moved for the next 2 hours until my body and brain could not take it anymore. i had to sleep due to exhaustion! but rest assured i continued when i got back the next day. I had no idea how much beauty and life still exists on this planet despite us plundering the earth's resources.
This title only can be appreciated fully on Bluray! i don't want to make this a DVD Format discussion but anyone watching this on a 92'' diagonal HD Projection screen can appreciate what this disc has to offer.
I have other productions of nature like films also on Bluray but nothing compares to this title. If you love your theater setup and want to push the visual boundaries of any setup, get this disc! (possibly even Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray] as well!) i also got Alaska: Spirit of the Wild (IMAX) [Blu-ray] but will review it after a while.
happy watching everyone!