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FROZEN PLANET

Co-produced by the BBC, the Discovery Channel and The Open University, FROZEN PLANET ($55) is a seven part nature documentary series that looks at the environment and the creatures that make their home on some of the most inhospitable portions of the Earth. Focusing on life in the Arctic and Antarctic, FROZEN PLANET beautifully captures the icy frontiers, which are encroached upon by man in far smaller numbers than other regions of the globe, where life is much easier. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, each of the seven episodes runs slightly shy of one hour (including a Making Of each episode) and covers various aspects of survival in the extreme.

Episode One is To The Ends Of The Earth and provides a general overview of the northern and southern Polar Regions. Episode Two is Spring, which brings about the rebirth of life and the mating season for many animal species. Episode Three is Summer, when life is at its easiest for some species, but remaining difficult for others, as many take advantage of abundant food sources to pack on the fat that will carry them through leaner times. Episode Four is Autumn, which shows the waning vegetation as a signal to animal populace that they must prepare for winter. Episode Five is Winter, the harshest time of the year at the poles and when survival is at its most difficult. Episode Six is The Last Frontier, which shows mankind’s tenuous footholds in the most inhospitable places on the planet. Episode Seven is On Thin Ice, offers an environmental message on global warming and its effects on the Polar Regions and the ramifications for the rest of the planet.

BBC Home Video (via Warner) has made all seven episodes that comprise FROZEN PLANET available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080i presentations are relatively gorgeous, with the high definition documentary photography capturing stark, but incredibly beautiful landscapes. Sharpness and detail are very, very good, but the images can be deceptive when one looks at images containing a sea of white. Colors can be fully saturated, when the subject matter allows. Hues are more subdued at times when lighting and subject matter lean in that direction. Blacks and whites are right on the money, while contrast ranges from relatively smooth to something harsher. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear very clean. Grain/noise is a tiny bit noticeable in darker sequences.

All of the episodes that comprise FROZEN PLANET are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Although somewhat front heavy at times, FROZEN PLANET offers very high caliber television documentary sound. Narration is very crisp, clean and nicely recorded. Live location audio also impress, although the 5.1 channel mix is indicative of a bit of sweetening. Much of the time FROZEN PLANET provides a nice ambient presence that envelops one into the frozen world depicted. Fidelity is strong and bolstered by the lossless encode, offering a strong musical presence. The bass channel is solid, but not excessive. A French 2.0 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track is also offered, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off are Music Only Viewing Options for each episode. Each episode also offers a Freeze Frame, or a ten-minute look behind-the-scenes at the Making Of the episode. Forty-seven Production Video Diaries are provided to show the challenges the film crews encountered while making FROZEN PLANET. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Science At The Ends Of The Earth (twenty one minutes) and Frozen Planet: The Epic Journey (fifty nine minutes).

FROZEN PLANET is a marvelous documentary series that looks at life in the most extreme, inhospitable environments on the planet. The Blu-ray presentations are splendid. Recommended.

 
FROZEN PLANET 


Frozen Planet: The Complete Series (David Attenborough-Narrated Version) [Blu-ray] (2012)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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