Customer Reviews: Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray]
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Never have I been so moved by a series to exclaim in wonder and actually shed tears of joy at the beauty that surrounds us on this wonderful planet.

I have been watching it on Discovery HD Theater when it premiered in March. The first episode "Pole to Pole" set the tone by showing the range of life and species that exist on this planet. The subsequent episodes delve into the habitats one by one. Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, Deserts, Ice Worlds, Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forests and Deep Ocean are the subsequent episodes. This is one series that has to be seen to be believed of what the intrepid cameramen of BBC/Discovery Channel have been able to capture through their sheer perseverance in remote locations. The HD technology has captured some scenes and images never seen before and some seen before but never with this clarity and beauty. 5 years, 62 countries and 204 locations is what it took to make this series, and the result is a lifetime TV series.

This is one series that fascinated my kid as much as it amazed me. She wanted to watch her cartoons but the moment the episode began she was captivated. Both of us shared together the wonder that is our Planet and it was she who brought up the subject of what we might be doing to it by our actions. We cried when we saw how polar bears have begun to drown as ice melts faster every year. The image of one lone bear trying to walk on ice but falling into the slushy waters, and having to swim longer distances to capture food and finally dying with exhaustion was heart breaking. The series makes no references to the present conditions, just in passing as with the polar bear. I think the directors and producers of the series just wanted to show us the beauty of the natural world, the fight for survival of several animals even when there is no climactic change. And as we keep watching and are filled with awe and wonderment that we're lucky enough to live on this planet, we begin to appreciate quietly in our hearts how we need to change today to ensure that we save our planet.

That is what my daughter felt on her own, she asked me why we were not doing more to save our natural world and I did not have any good answers. The last 3 episodes, Planet Earth: The Future delve deeper into these issues, which I haven't had a chance to see yet.

I watched a clip of David Attenborough's version video on the web before I started watching the series with Sigourney Weaver's narration, and I was disappointed by her blandness and lack of depth. I bought this set like many others to listen to Sir David's narration. I was torn between the regular DVD set and the HD DVD though. This series is good enough to make me buy an HD DVD player just to be able to watch it in its true form! However, the regular set has the Future series and the Planet Earth diaries which the HD set does not have. I loved the Planet Earth Diaries (or behind the scenes) with cameramen, it made a fascinating documentary on it's own, and wished some were longer. If they had the extra material in the HD DVD set, it would have been my first choice.

I had saved the Discovery HD Theatre epidodes on my HD Cable box and I was able to compare their image quality with this Standard DVD version playing on an upconverting DVD player. The Discovery Theater images were crystal clear, and you could literally see each grain of sand on the sea bed or each crevice on a rock face. The Standard DVD looked pretty good when upconverted to 720p and if I had not seen the HD version I would have been quite amazed with the image quality. Right now I've been spoilt by the Discovery Theater version. If you're considering the HD version it's a great choice if you have an HD DVD/BluRay player. You'll probably not see a better HD disc. This series was shot completely in HD format. From my experience in the media industry I can tell you that this is a very, very expensive format to shoot in especially given the 5 years that it took to make this series. Most television is shot in a regular digital format and then upconverted to the HD format later. That gives great images but they cannot compare to something shot totally in HD. That is the reason the image quality of this series is spectacular. In HD they were able to capture the action which when replayed in slow-motion also stays crystal clear. Therefore you have breathtaking images of a shark capturing its prey (and many others) in slo-mo.

This really is the set to buy. It's like a living documentation of the beauty of our earth, some of which was starting to disappear right as the cameras were rolling. Perhaps, that is why BBC and Discovery spared no cost to produce this series and it is a masterpiece.
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on April 1, 2007
First off, let me say Thank you to Amazon for clarifying that the great David Attenborough is the narrator for this series. No Attenborough would have meant no purchase on my part. Simply put the most amazing documentary on life and animals and the world around us that I have ever seen. The clarity is simply breathtaking(and that was on my tv brodcast which was in 720P...the HD transfers are in 1080p!!!!).A huge tahnak you to the creators and producers for doing this for people like myself and many others who care deeply about the world around us.

My one minor complaint has to do with the fact that on the HD transfers, there is absent the supplemental material that is present on the standard defintion release. There is no 110 minutes of behind the scenes footage of what took place on these excavations to these wonderous places or interviews with the people, Attenborough or anyone for that matter. The other special feature not found on either the Blu-Ray or HD-DVD transfer is Planet Earth: The Future, which is a 150 minute documentary(Shot entirely in high defintion mind you) which chronicles how the whole series was created, and how we can continue to preserve our earth so that we may continue to have wonderous documentaries like this for our children's children. Finally, amazingly there are charging the HD customers around $25 MORE for a product that has LESS content than on the standard defintion release.

Otherwise highly reccomended presentation that is extremely addictive and immeasureably sensational from the first scene to the last. Its simply amazes me the beauty of God's creations.
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on April 30, 2007
Planet Earth was filmed on Seven continents. It took Five years and included a $25 million budget. Planet Earth is such an epic, that it earns comparisons to some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. I think High Definition Digest said it best "It's the Titanic of television nature documentaries - a work of great majesty, high ambition and huge financial risk (after all, this isn't a genre known for generating huge profits)." David Attenborough's narrates the series and does a great job at it. Planet Earth first started airing as an eleven episode series on the BBC in England late last year, and more recently on the Discovery Channel and Discovery HD here in the United States. With Planet Earth you will see beautiful landscapes of our planet, and amazing animal scenes all which will leave you either breathless, or at times put you on the edge of your seat. How some of these things were even able to be photographed by humans often makes you wonder. If you have a 1080p HD TV I highly encourage you to get the blu-ray or HD-DVD of Planet Earth. Only then will you will really appreciate the beauty of this amazing series.

I had originally purchased the blu-ray of this, but ended up also buying the DVD version of this because of all the bonus material included on it. Sadly the bonus material is not included on the blu-ray or HD-DVD versions.

Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray]

Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series [HD DVD]
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on April 3, 2007
having grown up with Sir David Attenborough's natural history programmes I was surprised to see that Planet Earth slipped under my radar. So I ordered the set From Amazon in the UK in January knowing that it will work on my DVD player as it's region free. The set arrived but I didn't have time to watch it so it sat on a shelf until I found out the the Discovery Channel was going to air the series. I suddenly remembered I had the set and decided to watch a bit of the set with my wife before the documentary aired later that night.

As we watched we both gasped with wonder at some of the shots of the wildlife and the filming off the various locations. We both watched the first episode on the DVD and then eagerly awaited watching the others on the Discover Channel later that night.

We settled down to watch the documentary and we both were in shock as the original narration by Sir David Attenborough had been replaced by Sigourney Weaver. In fact my wife couldn't watch the documentary as the narration was so bad - and she's American! So we went back to the DVDs.

We cannot understand why the Discovery Channel decided to replace Sir David Attenborough's narration with Sigourney Weaver but we both agree it was a very bad decision. We both like Sigourney, however she lacks any passion or warmth and appears to be speaking in a monotone voice. In particular there's a spot where in the first episode a bird clears a spot on a branch with a piece of debris from it's area so it can attract a female and Sigourney says "missed a bit" here she could show emotion she is just so lifeless. Sir David's narration is different here and you can hear the passion in his voice.

Speaking for myself, if I muted the sound so I couldn't hear the narration I could instantly tell the this was a BBC production and Sir David Attenborough would be the narrator. So I'm disappointed that the Discovery Channel felt the need to use change the narration. I'm just glad that I have Sir David Attenborough's narration on the DVD as I believe that this was the way the documentary was supposed to sound.
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on April 14, 2007
The series is awesome! When I started watching the series on TDC I expected to hear Sir David Attenborough narrating. After all, he is a legend in the world of nature documentaries and a BBC staple. Weaver does a good job, but I can't wait to hear it with Sir David. I'm so glad to have found this version and with more footage and a better price too! Three great reasons to buy this set!

The episode "Ice Worlds" is my favorite to date. The plight of the male Emperor penguins taking care of their eggs is especially heart-wrenching. It seems like a truly horrible exsistence for such a majestic animal. Their waddle is funny too.
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on January 24, 2010
Just in case, my 2 star rate is exclusively for the Blu-Ray product.

The Blu-Ray boxset comes with 4 discs that contains the 11 episodes that encompasses the complete series of planet earth.
If i had to rate the visual content of this series is 5 stars all the way, hands down.

As many other reviews, my discontent is the omission of special features.

I had a friend that lend me his planet earth DVD boxset and I just finished watching the bonus feature The Future which has 3 episodes: Saving Species, Into the Wilderness and Living Together each almost an hour length. In a nutshell, this amazing documentary is very informative and brings powerful ecological issues from very well educated people. Many of the concerns are going to be dealt directly by you and me, we need this education...why did they not include such an important documentary in the Blu Ray version!!

In a way I know the answer, I've seen how it works. I've been collecting movies since late 90's: I've bought DVD's that I had VHS versions before, I experienced the WB larger DVD's cases that were later changed for the standard size cases, or the "flip side" movies (first version of Goodfellas, Sleepers, A Time to Kill), the Special Editions, Limited Editions, Ultimate Editions, etc etc...believe me, I've done my share. Now seeing the same pattern in the Blu Rays discs (where "lack of space" is not an excuse) is really irritating.

It is a shame that this highly praised series (with their sophisticated message and the contribution to the appreciation/ preservation to the environment) fell in the industry abusive discipline in continuing exploiting the customers pockets...for me is somewhat contradictory to the essence of the series.

Don't be surprise when people decide to copy a special feature disc like this one, or should they sit and wait for the super mega edition boxset! Instead of spending millions in marketing for anti-piracy campaigns, concentrate in your loyal customers by making the most complete and comprehensive possible product in the original date of release.

Thanks for reading this.

UPDATE (January 27th): now that I saw the 10 minute behind the scenes on EACH episode on the DVD boxset I'm really pissed...this is amazing footage that was completely cut out from the Blu-Ray as well. Get this: these behind the scenes are an extra chapter (last chapter) within each episode which means they deliberately took them out for the blu-ray edition (as well as taking out the 5th disc - special feature the future)...que cojones man!!!

I'm sorry, I'm changing my vote to 1 star.
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on February 23, 2007
Having seen this series on the BBC HD Channel Here in the UK I would recommend this series to anyone that has a Interest in Documentarys and has a HD DVD player, and can safely say you havent seen anything like this before, the amount of detail the HD Cameras add to this is out of this world and the high production values make this a must have for anyone with a slight interest in the world that surronds us. Buy this and I guarentee you wont be disappointed! Its the ideal thing to show off your new HD TV and HD DVD player!

For people in the U.K as HD is region free this will play on your HD DVD player too even though this says region 1, beaware though you can only import goods upto £18 so you might have to pay duty and a Royal Mail admin charge!
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on April 25, 2007
This title is worth every penny. And it does play on the Xbox 360 HD DVD add on. You have to be connected to Xbox Live and it will download an update that will allow this title to play correctly. It also works fine on the stand alone HD DVD players(HD-A1, HD-A2, and HD-XA2) I have.
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VINE VOICEon August 25, 2007
I've got a HD DVD player but there has only been one album that I've bought for my collection (Batman Begins). Everything else has been rental through Netflix and the local Blockbuster.

Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series has become the second HD DVD to be added. And despite its $100 retail price, it is worth every single penny.

I did originally rent this from Netflix and had read all the reviews on this product and was anxious for it to arrive. Unfortunately I ran into two problems.

The first was that there is a patch that is required in order to make this run on my HD DVD player that is attached to my XBox 360. There were some user comments on this web site on how to patch the XBox 360 if you don't have XBox Live so if you are having the same problem, check out the comments. The patch fixed things right away. (Thanks, Amazon!).

The second problem was that my family wasn't interested in watching it with me. "We don't want to watch some nature program," they said. Well, I basically forced them to watch it with me anyways. After the first episode was finished my family was in love with it as much as me. In fact, my son said, "We should watch an episode every night until we finish it. Maybe even two episodes."

Not only have we enjoyed watching this movie almost every night but we have shown it to several of our neighbors and watched a few episodes with many of the kids in our neighborhood. I've yet to run into somebody who loves this series.

There are so many good things about this album I'm not sure where to begin. Probably just how beautiful it this video is, especially since everything is in crystal clear high definition. After all, the planet earth is not too exciting in regular television so in high definition it makes you feel like you are there. High definition is also very bright and colorful which makes everybody sit there oo-ing and awe-ing the entire time.

Also, it is very interesting and fascinating. This isn't your standard nature show, you actually get to see things that you've never heard of or seen before. Monkey's who swim for food, bears who live high in the mountaintops searching under rocks for moths to eat, and a bird who actually cleans up his area and does the wildest and funny dance for his potential mates (that was our favorite part).

This covers everything from pole to pole, to the highest mountains to the lowest valleys and caves in the earth. You'll laugh, you'll probably even cry when you see some animals fall victim to their predators, you'll be amazed as what is out there on our planet, and you'll want to watch each episode over and over again.

Most of my reviews end with who would like a certain product and possibly who wouldn't like the product. This is a rare one... I recommend this to EVERYBODY and can't think of anybody who would not find this a fun and wonderful video. David Attenborough is a wonderful guide as you experience planet earth in a way you never have before.
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on July 5, 2007
If there was any doubt that HD was worth the money, PLANET EARTH lays the question to rest.

This series is, without question, the most breath-taking, exquisitely beautiful and stunningly filmed series ever produced. Five years in the making, $25 million in production, 2,000 days of patient, timeless, extraordinary shots of nature at her most intense.

The breadth of the series is the planet. The pace is measured in the torrential downfall of rushing waters or beats of a hummingbird's wings or in the patient stillness of a snow leopard stalking her prey. The depths lie far beneath the surface in hidden crystal caves of Mexico. The heights are from outer space - we see our earth, as well as ourselves, in ways we have never dreamed possible.

Truly, the Creator's majesty is manifested in the tiniest details of creation. Nowhere is it more beautifully and astonishingly depicted as in PLANET EARTH.
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