[Review] The BBC High-Definition Natural History Collection (Blu-ray)
This set is over 1000 minutes of stunning visuals and story-telling. It is a 9 disc Blu-Ray set of incredible footage of the most fascinating animals, insects and environments that our planet has to offer. The set includes Planet Earth, Wild China, Galapagos, and The Ganges. Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my indeed! As a fan of these series, it is hard to not be amazed at the beauty of this box set. Each series in itself is a great set but together, it is magnificent. An added bonus to this set is that it is entirely in Blu-Ray: the high-definition makes this set even more compelling to watch.
Planet Earth is an excellent 6 disc set in and of itself. This is the more known-set of the four nature documentaries. It shows birds, animals, underwater creatures and insects from each hemisphere. The most colourful, strange-looking and different animals are shown in their natural habitats: all beautifully-filmed in high-definition. It is narrated by David Attenborough which adds to the intrigue of this nature documentary. Planet Earth navigates the delicate balance of amazing, awe-inspiring, terrifying and sometimes gross with ease. One of the particularly amazing-terrifying-gross moments happens to ants in the documentary. If they come into contact with a certain parasitic fungus, they become zombies: real-life zombie ants. These zombie ants lose control and try to infect other ants when the spores of this fungus begin to grow out of their heads.
Wild China has pandas…nuf said. More than this, it has an in-depth look into how animals and the population coexist in the Chinese landscape. Though a good deal of this series is focused on pandas in China (no complaints), a large portion of the series is focused on how the people live with the indigenous animals: like the monkeys that are approach people, especially those with food, around some of the tourist attractions. The series also shows how the Chinese people work to save and maintain the animal populations. There is a large panda conservatory which breeds and raises young pandas to keep the species alive as the number of natural births dwindles.
The Ganges follows the entire span of the river, from its smallest tributaries to its largest expanse. Though this nature documentary does show animals some of the great moments are tracking a tigress near a village and learning that fishermen on the Ganges sometimes use river otters to catch more fish. The documentary is focused more on the people that live by the river and use its resources to survive. Whether the Ganges is used for transportation of people or good and/or used for fishing, it is evident that the river plays an important role in the everyday life of a vast amount of many people. It also shows how the river has a great impact on the population from the overflowing riverbanks during monsoon season to when the riverbanks are too low. An entire village has to displace because the riverbanks start to erode putting their village at risk.
The Galapagos has beautiful footage of the place that spawned Darwin’s theories. There are mentions of Darwin’s time on the island and what led to his theory of evolution. This series focuses on the animals on the Galapagos including the tortoises, seals and birds that hug the coast of the island. Many of the animals are interesting for their habits or colours and how they relate to each other. For instance, little lizards help the seals by eating the flies that swarm them.
Overall, this is a magnificent set for its beautiful visuals and story-telling. The BBC Natural History set has all the components for hours and hours of entertainment…literally. It is easy to appreciate the seemingly effortless way that the BBC is able to produce outstanding nature documentaries. This set is definitely a worthy addition to your movie library!