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Wild Pacific (2009) (BD)
This landmark series explores the sheer scale and majesty of the largest ocean on Earth, the isolation of its islands, the extraordinary journeys wildlife and humans have gone through to reach these specks of land, and what happened to both after their arrival. Unimaginably vast, the Pacific is 99% water and only 1% land - you could fit the whole of the world's landmasses into it and still have enough room for another Africa! The distance between these islands can be huge - literally hundreds or thousands of miles - but somehow, life made it there. Isolation does curious things - animals evolve and adapt in strange ways. Witness flesh-eating caterpillars, giant crabs capable of opening coconuts, geckos that can breed without any need of a male, frogs that have never been tadpoles... Beyond cliched images of swaying palms and idyllic beaches, this is the real, immense and surprising South Pacific.]]>
- Six episodes on two discs
- Each episode concludes with a special 10-minute making-of video diary
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In reviewing this series, I think it's important to mention that Wild Pacific, which ran on the Discovery Channel, is the same series as South Pacific which ran on BBC and BBC America if I recall, depending on which version anyone here might have seen. I think the Discovery version was cut a little different but was basically the same. In either case, what a show it is.
Wild Pacific is cut into 6 parts, each covering a different aspect of the Pacific Ocean. The first episode explores the fact that there are indeed so many islands, thousands in fact. The second deciphers how animals and plants made it to all of these isolated places. The third documents the immense diversity of the Pacific, perhaps the most important eco-system in the world. The fourth episode is about the role of volcanoes in the Pacific, the so called "Ring of Fire". In episode five, the focus is on the unique animals and plants that exist on only one or two islands in the Pacific and nowhere else. Finally, episode six discusses how fragile the Pacific is and what kind of trouble it faces from overfishing, global warming and other threats.
This series does not cover every aspect in depth but it covers a lot of information, provides amazing photographic documentation of the subjects covered and brings tears to the eye at times with the beauty of places most of us can only dream of. It is in a word, astonishing.
Good is always mixed with bad and this documentary is no different. You get to see some amazing things but always, the threat of annihilation never seems to be far away at any point whether the threat is directly from people or from the changing world or just from the fact that only existing in one place and in such small numbers makes a species vulnerable from the start. You truly get to see how amazing and how fragile the mighty Pacific is. God's handy work I call it.
Some reviewers complained that this video series talked too much about people and not enough about the wild life. I politely disagree because in the case of the Pacific, humans have had a monumental impact on what they found there as they colonized it and this can teach us many important lessons. Some cultures have learned to live sustainably in their island and coastal homes, whereas others totally destroyed their local environment and themselves with it. We can learn a lot about what we should and should not do to ensure our own survival and that of the world around us.
In brief, if you never buy another BBC documentary series buy this one. It teaches so many different things and shows some of the most stunning scenery of places you can only imagine that you will never see for yourself. Truly, it is an astonishing place that no words can do credit. Thank you for reading and please enjoy the blue, blue waters and sandy vistas that await you.