Everyone is hung up because of the "Blue Planet" series from a few years ago. This(Planet Earth) was produced and released by the same group at BBC. This is seen by many as a sequel to Blue Planet. David Attenborough(AKA British David) did all the commentary for the Blue Planet.
(Think of it as Terminator 3 without Arnold..it doesnt fit)
If you haven't seen it, Blue Planet is a fantastic series and one of the main reasons Planet Earth did so well.
But absolutely Love planet earth, and i just think Sigourney Weaver did a great job.
It's funny though, i can tell that everywhere else other than amazon most people prefer the american U.S.A version of planet earth with weaver in it.
I don't have anything at all against the British, it's just i cannot handle trying to figure out what they say sometimes, so i much rather sit and relax and watch something i can fully understand in real english.
It's astonishing that an American cannot understand a British narrator.
In the same way that the rest of the world has to adapt to listen to the American accent, perhaps you might make the smallest effort to try and comprehend something 'new'. This is a British production, after all. It's reassuring that the majority of purchasers like to see things as they were originally presented.
It is amazing to me that an American version would have a different narrator in the first place. I cannot imagine such a thing would happen with an American production selling in the UK.
The 'British David character' (David Attenborough) is a lifelong naturalist and presenter who has been associated with the BBC and the BBC Natural History Unit for many years. He, and the BBC, have a string of documentaries to their credit (including 'The Blue Planet' and the 'Life Of/Life In' series). The BBC/David Attenborough version of 'Planet Earth' is the original version, the Discovery versions (TV programme and DVD) are re-edited versions.
You might be asking yourself 'what has all this got to do with people's preference for the BBC version ?'. Well, this is how I see it - it may not be a question of people preferring a British accent 'per se', but they do prefer it within the context of this series. Many reviewers, who prefer the BBC version, are very well informed about BBC documentaries (I imagine a good few will have some of the other BBC/David Attenborough DVDs). So, it is not simply a matter of accent - it is partly an acknowledgement that the BBC have an unparalleled track record when it comes to producing and presenting documentaries, and partly an acceptance that David Attenborough has more credibility as a presenter of this type of programme.
Although some reviewers dislike David Attenborough's enunciation, his narration is preferred by most because it contains both enthusiasm and wit (apparently, things that are largely absent from Sigourney Weaver's narration). The majority of reviewers don't seem to have a problem understanding David Attenborough (but there are a few who do).
So then it is confirmed that "David Attenborough" does have a strong British accent which "could" be difficult for some of us to understand ? ...
Which is why i and "possibly" some others would prefer the american version of this.
I personaly don't need to hear the "over excitement" when narrating a documentary.
I just prefer to fully understand what is being said the first time around, without having to figure it out at times.
I've never seen "Blue planet", and yes i do understand what you mean when you say things like : "It's as if Arnold was no longer the Terminator"...
But i can't really recall wether or not i've ever watched a documentary with "David Attenborough" or not in the past, i do know some British accents are very strong and difficult to understand at times.
Which is why i wouldn't want to make the wrong choice the first time around, when purchasing Planet earth.
Amazon should have Both versions available for sale, but the other could only be found on discovery or ebay.
I would much rather purchase from Amazon but the option is not available.
I'm not saying David Attenborough has a 'strong' British accent (his accent is considered, by many, to be neutral); I'm not sure why you think I've implied 'over excitement'.
You prefer Sigourney; and a few others do, because they feel she has a crisper and clearer enunciation than Dave (and they may have a point), together with an accent which they find easier to understand. It might be that this is one reason why Discovery chose to use her instead of Dave (I think there might be technical/commercial reasons also).
With programmes like this, the narration is an integral part of the entertainment experience. You shouldn't feel compelled to buy the David Attenborough version simply because the majority of OTHER reviewers prefer it. If David Attenborough's narration spoils YOUR enjoyment, then it would make sense for you to buy the version with Sigourney Weaver.
I believe the ongoing discussions of BBC vs Discovery or European versus Northern American accents interesting. I have had similar discussions w/other mothers, our interest in purchasing the series being for our young children.
What it seems to come down to for us is this... each ear prefers something different. Each child has a different understanding.
Personally... wouldn't it be great if it were offered in several languages around the world? Children from all different countries and regions could benefit and be exposed to a dialect they are comfortable.
The message I wanted for my children I want for all children... the earth is our home, it is an amazing and wonderous place, and it is our responsiblity to preserve what we can while we can. If these movies, regardless of which "type" it is, can help to encourage a higher level of consciousness then isn't it a benefit to us all?
Don't know if this helps, but I have an 8 and a 3 yo. Historically, when they are genuinely interested in a topic, the accent never really makes a difference. To them the narrator speaks the same language they do and in fact, they might have more difficulty w/the nuances found right here... Texas Drawl, North Eastern U.S. versus Pacific NW, etc. Neither ever complains about understanding british accents. Go figure.
I have heard both but I don't remember the difference truthfully. Follow you heart and do what you think is going to be best for your family... maybe buy both and return the one that doesn't meet your family's needs? Or maybe go to the websites for the stations that do air the show and see if you can listen to sound bytes from their website? Just a thought.
I bought the D.C. one without realizing their was a difference... but I don't care enough to send it back. It's ultimately the beauty of the photography I was after.
Discovery version had to be edited down from the BBC version to make way for commercials/ sponsor messages and therefore the narration had to be changed to fit the shorter version. When they did that they also changed the narrator to an American. This makes me think that the Discovery version probably has shorter episodes and may miss some of the footage.
I'm from California and I can understand "British" perfectly. And also of all the people I've talked to about planet earth they all sound vastly more interested in the UK version. And this is 18-19 year olds. The UK version has better music and narration.
Not having seen the Siguorney Weaver version, I can't comment on that. But I find Sir David British English quite understandable despite being raised on American accented English. There are a few words that Sir David pronounced differently and whenever I run into those (albeit infrequently), I just retrace them with subtitles.
I just wanted to mention, regardless of which version you like: David Attenborough is ENGLISH---so he doesn't have an accent. We in America have the accents. Honestly, if you cant understand english the BBC version has perfect subtitles.
You can view a sample of the Amazon (BBC) version that has his narration on it. I did that after I had seen the Sigourney Weaver version just because I wanted to see what all of this fuss was about. I STILL prefer the Sigourney Weaver version and in fact I like that her version seems more like a script that was written as opposed to a Brittish guy just talking me through what he is seeing. To me the Weaver version is more eloquent and thought out. I am not one for spontaneous documentary narration, so that is why I prefer the scripted American version. (And I agree that I would rather listen to someone with the same accent as I have so that I don't have to "try" so hard, but can just sit back and enjoy. Here is a link that has a trailer of the Attenborough version so you can see what he sounds like... Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series Hope that helps.
There are certainly different "English" accents--watch "My Fair Lady". One might be more accepted, but it's still an accent. I daresay no one speaks the same way now that Cromwell talked, for example.
Regardless of whether it's an accent, it strikes me that there are two concerns being addressed in this discussion: individual preference of how the narrator contributes to the enjoyment of the series and "broadening" oneself. As far as the series itself, go with the narrator you like. Try the samples on TV and on YouTube to see which you like better. (Thanks for the link to try them.) However, as someone who has seen 18-19 year olds from an isolated rural area struggle because they have to develop good listening skills and understand some new content they are being exposed to at the same time, I encourage those of you with children to consider exposing them to different accents when the opportunity arises (if not with this series, then when you can.) It's just another form of education, which will help them get along better in our ever diversifying society as they become adults. (Sorry, don't mean to preach, but I do see young adults struggling with this.)
Being that the series was produced by the BBC, I darned sure would want a Brit doing the narration. Consequently, nobody else but David Attenborough could do it justice.
This is first I've heard of Sigourney Weaver being used on an "American version". Luckily I just happened to buy the RIGHT ONE---Had I heard Weaver's voice come on, after paying fifty bucks, the resulting anger would probably made me give the set away to someone the next day.