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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.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
This BBC series is broken into several episodes, all of which are well balanced with scientific information and amazing visuals of the Galapagos. Some episodes focus more above sea, others below, and yet others on the human interface with the islands.
The narration is top notch and the sound effects and music are beautiful - combined they really make this DVD shine. You definitely get a lot of bang for the buck on this DVD because it is a highly polished production.
This is by far the best documentary I have seen...EVER. They did a wonderful job at looking at land, sea, and air creatures, giving all of them equal time. They explain Darwin's visit very well, and the video is pristine. You truly believe you are there when you watch this.
As I said earlier, don't let the three hours scare you. It may seems to drag on in some places. Believe me though, it is worth every minute of it. It's sad to know that humans are destroying places like that. If anything, this documentary will show the world that these creatures are actually WORTH keeping around.
Aired stateside on the National Geographic Channel, the set consists of three fifty-minute programs. The first, "Born of Fire", provides a vivid archeological history of the islands and shows how several of the most unusual species originated there and learned to cohabitate with each other. The second program, "Islands That Changed the World", looks at man's imprint on the islands, for better or worse, with an obvious emphasis on the work of Charles Darwin as he developed many of his theories about evolution based on his sightings here. It does take on the feel of a scholastic film with recreations of historical figures and events, but they do provide helpful context. The last is "Forces of Change", which forecasts the future with some coverage of the global warming issues but more of the focus on man's burgeoning presence on the islands and what is currently being done to maintain the natural environment.
Unlike Sigourney Weaver's overly controlled narration on the U.S.-released version of Planet Earth, actress Tilda Swinton imbues a greater sense of genuine enthusiasm over the dramatic images in this version. What is inarguable is the stunning cinematography, whether it's the satellite photos of the islands or the near-poetic movements of the animals spotlighted, for example, the first flights of the baby albatrosses, the dexterous swimming of the flightless cormorants, the multitudes of marine iguanas randomly spewing sea water from their lungs, and the proud ballooning of the red-bellied frigatebirds. There is a surprising lack of real scientific data which could have made the environmental reports that much more enlightening. You also have to tolerate some repetitiveness between the programs since they were aired at separate times. Regardless, this is nature programming at its finest, especially for those mesmerized by the particular idiosyncratic pleasures of the Galapagos.