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"Planet Earth" - (Six Disc)- (Special Edition)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: BBC/Warner Home Video
Genre: TV-Series
Release:
October 4, 2011
Special Features:

For this new edition we have a six disc version including audio commentaries for 5 episodes, over 2 hours of behind-the-scenes production featurettes,6 hours of assorted other documentaries,and an isolated score option,overall 13 hours are added to this special release also

Planet Earth: The Future a special three-part series produced for the DVD release, "Planet Earth Diaries", "Behind-the-Scenes" footage

Review:

A re-release edition with a few extras added also it features a "Music Only" section which also include SFX over ever music track when in this selected mode,also this is a six disc version,see below for more info.

Very few documentaries get to play with $25 million to take a look at the planet we live on, how it's changing and what we can do to make our home still habitable for ourselves and other species. We get to see places very few humans get to see and species that are rarely seen. It's a beautiful, remarkable and sobering documentary. We have lost half of the world's forest, wetlands and the wildlife around us. It brings the world closer to viewers and, in the process, will hopefully inspire decision makers to balance our needs with the needs of the world better. Featuring Sigourney Weaver as narrator, "Planet Earth" allows us to examine the world around us in a detail never seen before. ---

Image & Sound:

A marvelous, rich looking transfer captures the world in a way that I've never seen it before. Eschewing CGI for what lives around us, the brilliant colors and sharp images bring another world into your living room. The cinematography and transfer are so vivid that you'll find yourself gasping as you watch some of the footgage included here. If your breath isn't taken away by the footage, you're not alive. The Blu-Ray and HD-DVD versions look even sharper although I would verify that the extras are on the box as, reportedly, the final versions for both these formats WILL NOT include them. Audio is nicely used as well with plenty of ambient sounds popping up around the 5.1 set up. ---

Special Features:

This special six disc version includes audio commentaries for 5 episodes, over 2 hours of behind-the-scenes production featurettes,6 hours of assorted other documentaries,and an isolated score option,overall 13 hours are added to this special release,now to the main extras.

Each episode concludes with "Planet Earth Diaries" a 10 minute behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming of the show and how much of the marvelous footage was captured. It can vary from something as simple as to how they captured footage of Pirahnas to the experience of shooting in the caves of the dangerous Lechuguilla the deepest cave in the United States. ***

The fifth disc consists of a number of a separate three part series produced especially for the DVD release. "Planet Earth: The Future" consists of three episodes addressing issues about how we treat our world, how we can prevent the additional collapse of the ecosystem and what the results might be if we don't. ***

"Saving Species" tackles a complex problem. The makers of the documentary walked away from the project with mixed emotions. On the one hand they were impressed with the wonder of our planet, the diversity, and the beauty but on the other they were saddened to see so many species put into peril by our changing "landscape". While some of that change is due to the natural forces of evolution and of time, many of those changes come courtesy of humanity. Many of the creatures in this documentary are so rare that the crew documenting their existence might be the last humans to see them. ***

Crew members relate stories for example of being awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of gunshots as locals hunted these rare creatures. The idyll landscape is deceptive-for example crews would visit an area many times and have locals tell them how many different types they would be able to film only to find that many species have grown extinct within the time that field crew have gone to find locations to shoot and the actual shooting took place. We're looking at an ecosystem that is gradually collapsing and the underlying fabric that supports human life is tearing. Eventually humanity and all life on our planet could conceivably fall threw and die. This isn't a conservative or liberal issue-it's an issue that concerns all of humanity. Why should we be concerned if one species of frogs die for example? It's life and it's unique. It also indicates a much, much larger problem when species fall by the wayside left and right. Sometimes it can be attributed to the natural change of our world but mostly it's due to introducing species from one continent to another where they change the delicate balance of our local ecosystems. It's a beautiful, mysterious world we live in but it can only continue to be that way if we make intelligent choices. The problems are large and the solutions not simple-world poverty contributes to these issues as does industrial pollution and changes to natural habitat by people. ***

"Into the Wilderness" documents these isolated areas where many of these creatures live but more importantly WHY it is important to keep these areas free from our ever expanding species. We hear a discussion of the concept of what a "wilderness" is. Does that mean that there are no humans to change? Our world is over crowded; we spend our wealth in the wrong ways as "our" world expands the "wilderness" shrinks. Mining natural resources can and will damage our world beyond repair-we have to begin asking "at what cost"? 39% of the Earth is still unoccupied but that's because much of our planet is too difficult to live on with a harsh environment. The less humanity we have living in a small area the greater the diversity of the area and the richer we are for it because WE can continue to thrive and survive. Ultimately the survival of the planet isn't linked to luck or to "God's Will" but to our will and the intelligent choices that WE can make. The point is that by the time we hear about a problem within the environment it's often too late to change it or, at the very least, too difficult. "Planet Earth" suggests we need to be proactive about our home. How much wilderness is enough? It's a difficult question to answer. ***

The spread of disease of domestic animals where wild life and humanity come into contact has also destroyed species. Using vaccination to create a "safe zone" (something learned from vaccinations in humans in Africa) protects both the locals and the wilderness. It's this type of problem solving that is an example of a workable solution. Population control in a world with political boundaries impacts the health of our world as well. Economic growth (or lack of it) also contributes to this threat. If we live on the world the way that America lives then we need, as James Leape the director general of the World Wildlife Fund International, three planets for our population because America has created a standard of living that is out of proportion to what the world can provide in terms of the resources consumed. It's not the total number of people (although that plays into it) but the resources we use and abuse. Robert Costanza a Professional of Ecological Economics from the University of Vermont points out that consumption does provide satisfaction but its temporary-like a form of psychological junk food that isn't necessarily good for us because we then have to consume more and more. ***

"Living Together" the last featurette focuses on how we can change our world for the better in the future. Humanity has laid waste to much of the planet and its resources without thinking of the consequences. While we can't change what has been done we do need to change how we exist with our world. If we are unable to do so we will, indeed, make the entire planet a wasteland as the ecosystem collapses with no other options for homes in the immediate neighborhood. ***

There is also a discussion of how the ecology movement got started but, more importantly, how we can continue on a balanced approach to people/places/nature that enables the survival of the entire world. ---

Final Words:

A powerful, fascinating and great epic documentary, "Planet Earth" will also provoke thoughtful discussion. Hopefully we will move to a point where discussion moves to action. The world that we change is the world that our children inherit. Let's hope it's a place that they want to live in but, more importantly, where everything can live. I'd highly recommend this set.

 

 
 
 
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