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on May 12, 2012
If you like to see how various traditional societies around the world have done things in the past, and a very few still do, this series provides excellent hands on viewing. In most cases, you get just a snapshot of one particular unique aspect of a given culture, rather than a feel for the entire culture. Also, each subdivision of topics includes a behind the scenes program describing the filming techniques and difficulties, etc., involved in making the program. A few of the topics involve unusual activities or animals in modern cultures. Most, but not all of these, are found in the section on cities. My favorite section, overall, is the cultures in jungles, mostly in the Amazon, Africa, and New Guinea. Children search for the largest species of tarantula, then cook and eat it, being very careful to avoid and destroy by fire its dangerous easily dislodged body hairs.... Brazilian Matis demonstrate exceptional talent in designing their blowgun technology, then exceptional ability in locating and stalking their prey, and exceptional accuracy in hitting their target monkey, high up in the canopy.... A Papuan community demonstrates exceptional agility and ability in climbing tall trees, then constructing a tree house high enough to avoid many biting insects, evil spirits, and possible kidnappers below and to catch more breezes The higher the house, the greater the status of the builders. Sound familiar? Elsewhere, a Tibetan father guides his children 60 miles up a very treacherous partly frozen winter river, to their school. A cave serves to protect them at night from the frigid air, retaining some of the heat from their campfire... Then, Africans demonstrated how to catch fish on a speck of land at the lip of Victoria Falls, where others dare not venture ... As no guide of the topics covered came with the DVD set, I made my own guide, which I would like to reproduce here for the benefit of others. I counted 74 topics. Here goes:
DVD#1
Oceans
1)Collecting gooseneck barnacles on dangerous sea cliffs in Spain
2)Whale hunting in Lembata, Indonesia
3)Fishermen cooperate with dolphins in Laguna, Brazil
4)Surfing giant waves in Hawaii
5)Typhoons
6)Shark calling and noosing off Papua NG
7)Compressor air-diving fishing in Palawan, Philippines
8)Bajau sea gypsies of SE Asia
9)Spear fishing while walking underwater
10)Filming compressor air-diving in Palawan

Deserts
1)Trials of a desert cattle herder in Mali
2)Dogon's fishing festival
3)Tubu women camel caravan across the Sahara
4)Surviving the Gobi in winter
5)Collecting mist in the rainless Atacama Desert
6)Harvesting fossil water under the Sahara
7)Sandstorm and rain in dry Mali
8)Wodaabe courtship festival, in West Africa
9)Filming the Tubu women's Saharan journey

The Arctic
1)Greenland Inuit hunt, by dog sled, for Greenland shark
2)Canadian Inuit harvest mussels from perilous sea ice cave
3)Greenland Inuit hunt for Narwhal
4)Greenland Inuits catch auks with hand net and ferment for winter
5)Sami reindeer herders migrate their herds to winter pastures
6)Eating kiviak in Greenland
7)Polar bears of Churchill,CAN
8)Filming hunting the narwhal

DVD#2

The Jungle
1)Canopy hunting with blowgun by the Matis of Brazil
2)Venezuelan Piaras children hunt and eat goliath tarantulas
3)Amazonian Awa Guaja as obsessive wild pet keepers
4)Bird of Paradise hunters
5)Mt. Hagen Papuan Sing sing festival
6)Congo Bayaka make music, then collect honey high in tree
7)Burmese use of elephants in logging
8)The need to protect remaining completely traditional forest cultures
9)The Korowai of New guinea build a high tree house
10)Filming the Korowai

Mountains
1)Fox hunting by Kazakhs with trained golden eagles
2)Gelada baboons threaten to eat Ethiopean crops
3)Collecting sulfur in Java volcano
4)Netting fruit bats in Papua
5)Preventing damaging avalanches in the Alps
6)Treating blinding cataracts in Nepal, induced by intense mountain sun
7)Tibetan open air funeral and corpse disposal
8)Filming the Kazakhs fox hunting

Grasslands
1)Dorobos steal a lion kill by intimidating the lions
2)Kalahari bushmen hunt Kudu with arrows smeared with beetle grub poison
3)Catching water snakes in Cambodia
4)Masai cooperate with honey guides that lead them to bee hives
5)Locust birds threaten grain crops in Africa
6)Mongolian horse roundup
7)Suri cattle herders of Ethiopia duel with sticks
8)Modern helicopter cattle roundup in Australia
9)Filming the Dorobos stealing a lion kill

DVD#3

Rivers: Friend and Foe
1)Fishing the Mekong's dangerous Khone Falls, Laos
2)Walking 100km on a frozen river in Himalayan Tibet
3)River ice dam busters of Ottawa
4)Collapsing Ganges river banks in Bangladesh
5)Farming river turtles on Rio Negro, Brazil
6)Dangerous fishing at top of Victoria Falls
7)Samburu use elephant dung to locate shallow water tables in desert
8)Shoring up mud-made buildings in ancient Djenne, Mali
9)Making a living fig river bridge in Megalaya, north India
10)Filming dangerous fishing at Khone Falls, Laos

Cities
1)Using peregrine falcons to keep Dubai pigeon-free
2)Policing elk-human interaction in Estes Park, CO
3)Monkey problems in urban India
4)Rat and cockroach control in modern cities
5)Bedbugs in modern societies
6)Pigeon droppings help make premium leather in Morocco
7)Austin, TX loves its urban bat colonies
8)Unusual pets in India
9)Future green technologies in modern cities
10)Beekeeping in NYC

I discoverd that one of my friends from Flores, Indonesia, has been to the featured whale-hunting island of Lembata. She says sometimes they use poison-tipped harpoons to help subdue the whales, but difficult to find the rare source plant. Also, in some areas they cook in ovens dug into the hot volcanic soil. Also, in the program on Inuit fishing for the large Greenland shark, it wasn't mentioned that the flesh of this shark is poisonous due to the large amount of TMA oxide, which is converted by gut bacteria into the poisonous TMA, which is mainly responsible for the odor of decaying fish. Thus, the flesh must be processed by boiling in several changes of water, drying, or by fermenting rather like shown in the program on auks, to produce Hakari, considered a delicacy. The TMA oxide is important to the sharks to help protect their enzymes and cells from the deleterious effects of high water pressure, cold water, and high urea content of their blood.
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on December 12, 2014
This review will probably show up for all versions of Human Planet, which I think stinks. (Come on Amazon, STOP DOING THAT.)
I'm reviewing the BLU-RAY version for Region A/1: North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, it has eight parts and is narrated by John Hurt just like it was when it played on BBC.

Seeing what some people do every day to survive is jaw dropping. Crossing the desert for days, counting SAND DUNES to navigate to an oasis, knowing if you make a mistake that everyone with you and your flock will die? Scary. Harvesting turtle eggs to protect them from predators so you can release them later on and hunt them when they have grown bigger? Amazing. Building bridges over raging rivers by training tree roots, knowing your dad started training you to work on the bridge he started when he was a child and knowing the job won't be completed in your lifetime? Incredible. And crossing a wire rope bridge wearing FLIP FLOPS over the worlds most powerful raging rapids just so you can get a fish to feed your family? I was afraid to watch, yet he does this every day.

The usual production values we have come to expect from BBS are there in abundance, stunning visuals that make owning an HDTV worthwhile.

The only negative is the "Special BD-Live added feature “Zanskar,” about the people of this remarkable land on the edge of the Himilayas" will not stream, it says my Bluray player doesn't have an internet connection. My PS3 is most certainly connected to broadband internet and streams HD video from Amazon and Netflix without any issues. But even if Human Planet didn't have problems streaming, I would much rather have the content I paid for be included on the disc itself. Otherwise, you have no guarantee of getting it today, let alone in five or 50 years.

I took off one star for the streaming failure since I can't view one of the features, otherwise it would have been five stars.
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on March 23, 2016
Insightful observations filmed by the proficient BBC crews of eight individual Earth environs human's have "conquered". I could, and did just adore listening to the awesome voice narration of the (sadly)late, great consummate professional John Hurt; second only to --and not to be confused with "Planet Earth" series narrator-- that of the sonorously super-sexy David Attenborough!
Professional filming technologies have evolved dramatically with the introduction of "Video-drones" and it's very apparent that the majority of the technical shoots done in this BBC production (spanning approximately three years: 2008-2011) were extremely difficult challenges and that [they] did not yet have the availabilities drone technologies so uniquely provide until just a few short years later!
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on June 23, 2011
...perhaps Amazon should create a 6th star category for series like this one. Outstanding and it shows life as it is out here away from the developed world. In the third, sometimes fourth, world I live in it's all about survival and life can be too short for many people. Their daily existence sometimes depends on the kindness of others and usually what they can grow for themselves.

This series also shows what I see every day at it's most extreme and illustrates how in some parts of the world, humans still live in concert with nature. It goes on to warn us about what happens when that balance is upset and although well intentioned, development & 'progress' almost always affect traditional cultures in terrible ways. Over-population in the third world, the alarming deforestation across much of Africa, the pillaging of the resources, depletion of fish stocks, garbage, and the total lack of concern for nature in some parts of the world will eventually affect those who come after us.

And, the lack of respect by some important elected officials towards improving the environment is utterly depressing and will have hugely negative affects on countries around the world. If you think it's bad now just wait until 2025 when some of the most impoverished countries in the world will nearly double their populations from 2010 figures (for instance - some experts predict that one in four people in the world will be living on Africa continent by around 2050). Their much depleted natural resources are already in a negative decline and in some countries in Africa it will become even worse than it is today. For instance, in Ethiopia, by some estimates only three (3) percent of the trees that existed 35 years ago are still there. Entire hillsides have now been stripped of their foliage which has led to big problems with erosion, desertification, and etc. Meanwhile, unchecked population growth across the continent means that humans will take more and give back less (usually nothing) to replinish nature for the next generations.

So, I recommend that you watch this series to see where humankind currently is as it relates to managing its natural resources (a snap shot in time). Then, sit down with your grandchildren a decade, or two, from now and see if its gotten better or worse. I predict worse for the third world.
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on December 29, 2011
"Human Planet" blends Planet Earth (Six-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray] and Life (David Attenborough-Narrated Version) [Blu-ray] with anthropology. The filming is beautiful, the scenes are extraordinary, and the vastly different people are relatable to the viewer/observer. "Human Planet" uses exquisite HD filming and sweeping shots of people performing ordinary and extraordinary tasks.
Having studied anthropology I acknowledge that this series is beautiful, yet it does not go into as much detail as other ethnographic productions. The producers were more interested in capturing particular events than showing the day-to-day aspects of other cultures and persons. I gave this series 4 stars because it succeeds in making anthropology accessible, exciting, and relevant to a large audience. However, If the producers, photographers, and researchers acknowledged their own prejudices/biases I may have given this series five stars. Though each episode is followed by a "behind the lens" short feature (somewhat "raw footage" of the crew), Human Planet still seems to exploit the people it observes. For example, in one "behind the lens" the subject-person was asked to repeat a daring and dangerous tightrope walk several times just so the producers/videographers could capture the perfect shot. In contrast, a different "behind the lens" showed a researcher participating in an event, and it documented his personal observations and experiences.

To summarize: This series provides countless examples of the remarkable ways people survive, thrive, and interact with nature. I enjoyed this series but I wish the producers/videographers were more explicit in their personal biases. The filming is beautiful, but a drawback may be that the filming is too polished and heavily edited. Unfortunately, this series does little in the way of contextualizing its subjects's cultures, societies, tribes, and the individuals' characteristics. Perhaps the "Human Planet" team would have benefited from reading Return to Laughter: An Anthropological Novel (The Natural History Library)
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on August 23, 2011
There have already been some excellent reviews posted, so I'll be brief:

Visually stunning, this series shows how humans have adapted to survive in the most inhospitable and difficult environments on Earth. For anyone interested in documentaries of the world around us, this is a top-quality BBC production. Included in the boxed DVD set are episodes showcasing Oceanic, Jungle, Arctic, River, Desert, Mountain, Grassland and City cultures. Every episode might not be your cup of tea (I personally found the City episode to be less interesting than the others, though ymmv), but as a whole, the series paints an amazing picture of the ingenuity we have been endowed with as a race. (It also paints an amazing picture of how, even in the most primitive of places, we humans have the capacity to take advantage of each other.)

As it's from the BBC, the series does not shy away from nudity or sexual topics - though they're in no way 'waved in front of your face'. (Which i applaud - to be human is to possess the equipment and drives necessary for making more humans, and this is a series about humanity.) The only reason I mention this is because many people might look to purchase this for viewing with young children. Be warned that you will probably have to explain a few things to your kids as they watch this series. This bothers me in no way, but there might be more conservative Amazon members reading this review. (E.g., the puritans who successfully campaigned to have parts of the "Walking With Beasts" series blurred out.)

A monumental work of modern anthropology, and highly recommended.
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on July 31, 2013
I tend to stay away from BBC productions because the English regional dialects of the presenters seem to come via Mars. I would prefer to watch Blu-rays in Spanish or French than from the BBC. This three disc set is an exception. Instead of presenting primitive people from far corners of the globe, we meet typical families and learn what their life is like and how they resolve the problems they encounter. Unlike similar presentations, we get to know the families and see them as intelligent people that are much like us. This HD set is a breakthrough. I would like to meet these families in person if that were possible. I recommend it highly.
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on June 19, 2013
It's so wonderful to watch all the cultures around the world in action. Every person and country is a world full with surprises and wonders. This documentary film shows this from the perspective of some people in every culture around the world. You can watch them accomplish great things, like catching and killing a big whale, stealing the food from a lion. It's so great I can`t describe it. You have to listen David Attenborough's comments and let you get close to the human nature.
The duration of every bluray is like 2:50 hours and you want more. It shows how is the living inside the city, the jungle, the mountains, etc.
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on May 9, 2013
I am giving it a 5 because this is such an important documentary captured in beautiful and shocking cinematography. Very interesting and entertaining content about cultures and people from all over the globe living their lives relying on the resources of their lands and their own intelligence. Yes, there are some images of nude cultures, but it's not weird and I absolutely watched this with my young children and simply pointed out that this is how some people live out in remote parts of the world. Really amazing, this Human Planet DVD!
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on December 27, 2016
I really liked the shows, the area the shoots take place in are simply gorgeous. That being said, there were some scenes with nudity that I felt were unnecessary. However, only the rainforests, deserts and grasslands videos have them, the rest of them are clean. If you or your child can handle it, then it is a good purchase to make.
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