This is the world, our planet, as you’ve never seen it before. It goes without saying that Planet Earth is the new gold-standard for nature documentaries. There is something about this series that is flat-out amazing. This series offers a whirlwind tour of our planet, giving us access to places and scenery we may never see in our own lifetime. If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the nature lover in your family, this is it right here. And now, let’s hop over to the synopsis.
With an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet’s best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth’s most extreme habitats. Planet Earth takes you to places you have never seen before, to experience sights and sounds you may never experience anywhere else.
Narrated by David Attenborough, this is a stunning series. The BBC really pulled off an amazing nature series here, and quite possibly the definitive look at the world for our times. I can’t remember how many times my mouth dropped open as I uttered “oh my god” to the screen. The visuals were fantastic and the pacing flawless. Not once was I bored, but entranced by what I saw on the screen. If I said this documentary was ‘unmissable,’ some might say I’m being overblown and hokey. But, I don’t think I am. This is something that everyone should see. The episodes never feel rushed, and are expertly paced with just enough information and facts to enhancer the visuals we’re watching on screen. And, again, there are just visuals that are astonishing. Planet Earth casts its net wide and manages to grab everything in its’ wake. We see everything here, both the good and bad side of nature, all unflinching, all astonishing.
The entire Planet Earth series is broken down across four discs, with the fifth saved for a special extra documentary looking at where the future of our planet could be heading. Disc One includes “Living Planet, “Mountains,” and “Fresh Water.” Disc Two gives us “Caves,” “Deserts,” and “Frozen Worlds.” Head over to Disc Three for “The Great Plains,” “Forests,” and “Jungles.” Disc Four presents “The Shallow Seas,” and “Ocean Wide, Ocean Deep.” Finally, Disc Five rounds off the pack with the three-part “Planet Earth – The Future,” which includes “Saving Species,” “Into The Wilderness,” and “Living Together.”
Each territory visited in these episodes focus equally on the well-known and the unexpected, both equally, both amazingly. But, even for things you think you do know about, there is so much more new information that Planet Earth not only gives us, but shows us, as well. Whether it’s watching an animal successfully start and complete a hunt, much like a riveting hunt in “Pole to Pole,” or watching a newborn take her first few steps and be immediately tossed into danger, it’s absolutely amazing. And, again, I just can’t talk enough about the visuals we see here. Whether it’s birds I’ve never seen before, locations that I’ve never heard of, or whatever, the visuals are just absolutely staggering. We get to see everything. One of my favorite moments is, as we watch the migration of the Caribou in the Canadian North, the camera slowly pans out to reveal nearly three million of these animals and it’s an amazing site. And there’s a fair amount of these impressive visual shots, too, whether it’s bird flocking or animals marching, that longshot, as we see them in context to their surroundings, it’s astounding.
What Planet Earth also does is give us a look into the work that created this amazing documentary series. Usually an afterthought, a mere one, by the viewer, here we get a nice look at how the crew behind this endeavor. At the end of each episode, the viewer is treated to Planet Earth Diaries, an additional ten minute look at how some of the spectacular visuals and stunning moments are captured on film. We look at the extraordinary risk the crew takes for just one shot, or one moment, and we look at the technology that makes it all possible. I can’t imagine all the planning that went into creating this series, but we get a peek at the end of each episode at portions of the creation of this series. It’s amazing to see the lengths they go for the visuals they need, and I have to admit, these visuals really help make this program. Some of the longshots are just jaw-dropping. On top of that, some of the camera tricks they use, like speeding up a frame or the somewhat wipe they use to have one season turn to another with a mere wave of color is just amazing.
Planet Earth, to me, is a definite must-see. It takes a look at our planet, at a whole, in a way we’ve never thought possible. Not only that, but everything is put in context inn terms of the planet. When we see animals migrate, or seasons change, or watch as a storm whips through a part of a world to another, it’s all in context as to how our planet works. And it shows us that there’s more to life than what we see. It’s a true eye-opener in every sense of the word.
Planet Earth: The Complete Series comes packaged in a cardboard fold-out digi-pack case housed in a cardboard slipcover. As you open the set, each disc is laid out on its own “page.” The set is covered with images of our planet and images of from the documentary. It’s a stylish and simple design. The menus are simple and easy to navigate. The audio and video are top-notch for a standard release, but I can only wonder how amazing this must look on an HD release. It’s obvious the image suffers a bit due to the limitations of the standard DVD format, but aren’t too damaging to the overall product. The extras, as previously mentioned above, include 110 minutes of behind the scenes footage, divided into 10-minute blocks after each episode. The big extras is the 3-part, 2 1/2 hour documentary Planet Earth – The Future, which looks at what the future may hold for this very planet.
With Christmas around the corner, this is something that everyone, nature lover or no, should see. Not only will it give them a newfound respect for the planet we live on, but for the fellow inhabitants and environment around us. Not only is this documentary entertaining and engaging, but you’re bound to learn something new when you sit down to watch this. Planet Earth: The Complete Series comes Very Highly Recommended. I feel like I’m running out of words to describe this series, as I’ve used plenty already (did I use “lavish” already?), but it’s arguably the best nature documentary made to date, and one that won’t bore you to tears. This is a must-see documentary, and, with Christmas around the corner, it would make the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s consistently entertaining and engaging, providing a wealth of information and a startling amount of stunning visuals. Planet Earth: The Complete Series shows us our planet, our world, as we’ve never seen it before, and you won’t be disappointed.
Planet Earth: The Complete Series is now available on DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray.
Buy Now Planet Earth: The Complete Series now at the BBC America Shop.