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Four years in the making, this stunning series set new landmarks for the already superlative quality of BBC wildlife programmes. Building on the tremendous success of The Blue Planet, Planet Earth develops the style of this earlier series, providing an emotional, epic and wholly cinematic experience, with Attenborough weaving narrative threads through the onscreen dramas, his love and respect for the subject shining through.
The first programme of its kind to be shot in high-definition, Planet Earth is now available on Blu-Ray, so owners of those players will be able to enjoy the stunning photography as it was meant to be seen. It springs off the screen in almost 3-D quality, and your eyes have to adjust to the superlative definition. It is the pinnacle of the new format and will do more to boost sales of High-Def players than any Hollywood blockbuster: the detail on every feather, hair and scale is crystal clear, bringing the colour and texture of nature into your living room.
The BBC and David Attenborough have created many memorable series on the natural world over the years, so what's so special about their latest, Planet Earth? Firstly, its style and ethos: conceived after the tremendous success of The Blue Planet, Planet Earth develops the style of the earlier series providing an emotional, epic and cinematic experience. Attenboroughs voiceover is an integral part of this, skilfully weaving narrative threads across the onscreen dramas, his love and respect for the wildlife shining through.
Secondly, due to its adoption of the latest filming technology this programme simply could not have been made before. Filmed in high-definition, the photography is absolutely stunning and crystal clear in this excellent transfer. But the achievement is not just cosmetic; new cameras have allowed the makers to film from greater distances, leaving animals undisturbed in their natural environment. In fact, many of the sequences and animals shown in Planet Earth have never been seen before on film - typically three per episode. This impressive coup is partly down to the new technology, but also thanks to good old-fashioned diligence and patience. Planet Earth is the culmination of four years work but frankly, given the results, this doesn't seem long at all the footage is of such quality that is surprising that they ever managed to capture these scenes at all. A case in point in the first episode we witness a huge great white shark hunting a sea lion. As the shark begins to break through the surface of the sea, the film enters 40x slow motion we see in breathtaking clarity the predator leap fully out of the ocean with the sea lion in its teeth, the sharks entire, massive body twisting in the air before crashing down into the ocean once more. Its astonishing.
It's difficult not to gush in conveying the strength of the material here. Suffice to say, its the most accomplished nature series ever made, and a wonderful viewing experience.