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The Blue Planet: Seas of Life Blu-ray Review

blue-planet-seas-of-life-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48 kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English  
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Running Time: 389 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 9, 2013
  • List Price: $26.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

title

This eight-episode, nearly 400-minute, BBC Earth series is the result of a multi-year project, produced by Alaister Fothergill, Martha Holmes, and Andy Byatt. While originally released in 2001 on DVD, this is the Blu-ray premiere, and as will become evident, was well worth the wait. Narrated by the suave voice of Sir David Attenborough, complemented by another great George Fenton score, this series delivers just about anything and everything that anyone would care to know about this often mysterious blue world.  Each episode covers a particular theme as noted below:

whale tail

Disc One contains:

  1. The Blue Planet: Regulation of live in the oceans by currents and sunlight
  2. The Deep: Life at the very bottom of the sea revealing “the
  3. Open Ocean: Views of creatures the inhabit the seas that are farthest from land
  4. Frozen Seas: Arctic and Antarctic oceans present a struggle for survival during the long winters
  5. Bonus: “The Making of…” brief featurettes on each episode.

octopus

Disc Two contains:

  1. Seasonal Seas: The effects of seasonal change on life in the oceans.
  2. Coral Seas: The community of creatures that inhabit the coral reefs
  3. Tidal Seas: Ocean life that is shaped by the ebb and flow of the tides.
  4. Coasts: A concluding chapter on the varied life forms that make seacoasts their home.
  5. Bonus: “The Making of…” brief featurettes on each episode.

amphlypod

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

pengs

While the photography, nearly all of which was shot in the wild, provides one thrill after another, the visual quality also shows its age and lacks the last word in clarity and edge definition that are taken for granted a decade later. There is a surprising amount of grain but I would suspect that a variety of cameras were used and the filming conditions were not always ideal. Colors are still quite stunning and capture of the motion dynamics of the sea world, truly spectacular.

crab

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The expert score by prolific film composer, George Fenton aids and abets the dramatic action that pervades the series. The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 is the only option and delivers Sir David’s clear narration and the atmospheric sounds of the seas.

color

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

camera

Disc 3 offers us five new bonus programs, interviews and extra footage (all in Dolby Digital Stereo):

  • Amazon Abyss : A 54-minute travelogue covering the little known and rarely seen creatures that live in the depths of this huge river
  • Dive to Shark Volcano: 53 minutes of swimming with the sharks.
  • Between the Tides: A 30- minute featurette that explores tidal life and a supplement to Episode 8.
  • Antarctica: For those who did not get enough of the Frozen Seas (Episode 4), here is 31 minutes with more snow, ice and freezing temperatures.
  • Deep Trouble: A 51-minute featurette that returns to the depths (Episode 2) and shows us the eyes of one of the project’s divers how some of these episodes were created.
  • Interviews with producer Fothergill, cameraman Doug Allan, and researcher Penny Allen.
  • An additional 80 minutes of behind-the-scene footage.

jelly

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

iguanas

The Blue Planet is a welcome addition to the BBC Earth Blu-ray catalog. This series is probably the most comprehensive view of life above, below, and beside the mighty oceans of our planet. What lifts this series above most documentaries is the sharp script, perfectly delivered by narrator and naturalist David Attenborough (also the voice of Planet Earth, Africa, and The Frozen Planet). While the visual quality is not as sharp as would be the case today, the filming started in the mid-1990’s and represents the contributions of numerous cameras. This is a very generous set adding more than three hours of extras that were not included in the original DVD release.  All considered, this is a landmark series as was its predecessor, Planet Earth, and one that should be in every nature lover’s film library.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Blue Planet: Seas of Life on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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dolphin run

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Purchase The Blue Planet: Seas of Life on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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