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Life on Fire: Wildlife on the Volcano’s Edge Blu-ray Review

life-on-fire-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2  (2  x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 360 Mins.
  • Studio: PBS
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March  26, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:5/5]

Life-on-Fire-BD_01

Life on Fire: Wildlife on the Volcano’s Edge (Le Peuple des Volcans) is the provocatively named French nature documentary mini-series from directors Bertrand Loyer, Jacques Bedel and François de Riberolles. Narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons (TV’s The Borgias; The Words; Margin Call; The Lion King), the six-part series takes a look at active volcanoes around the world and the wellspring of wildlife living in their wake. The filmmakers start us off at the fiery home of volcanoes, Iceland, and the 2010 eruption of the impossibly named Eyjafjallajökull volcano that threw European air travel into chaos. From there, it’s a journey to the highest icy peaks, and the lowest depths of  the seas. Beautiful HD cinematography, underwater high-speed cameras, and macro-imagery brings us up close to the wonders of nature. We see parakeets, bird-winged butterflies, bears, bats, dumbo octopus, Alvin shrimp, and more in Nicaragua, Iceland, Alaska, the Tongan archipelago, and elsewhere. The narration from Jeremy Irons is gripping, while the imagery is often staggering, and always sublime. This is one to rival the very best from the BBC such as Planet Earth or Human Planet.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Life-on-Fire-BD_02

Life on Fire gets a superb AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer (despite the 1080i label on the back cover) on Blu-ray. The macrophotography shows a fine level of detail and texture, contrast is strong, and colors, such as the fire reds of lava and cerulean blues of lakes, really pop.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Life-on-Fire-BD_03

The soundtrack is offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit). The 5.1 mix is definitely a step up over the stereo, even though it is somewhat subtle in comparison to, say, some of the IMAX documentary mixes on Blu-ray. The surround channels carry subtle atmospheric sounds of birds cawing and winds blowing, although there are some moments where they come alive more actively. The episode “Phoenix Temple” offers up a scene in a cave with bats flying all around us, their fluttering wings flapping convincingly through every channel. Jeremy Irons’ narration is clear and intelligible in the center channel while every eruption of the volcanoes booms with just the right amount of low frequency authority.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

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The set comes with about an hour of additional footage on disc two as the bonus feature.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Life-on-Fire-BD_05

PBS has long been known for providing quality educational programming, among those fine nature documentary such as the Nature series. This documentary mini-series from France, Life on Fire, is a fine fit and is a fantastic piece of work. It marvelously sets forth the the planet’s amazing amount of lifeforms living in the vicinity of active volcanoes and the incredible will to survive, even under the most unlikely circumstances. It’s gorgeous, intelligently written, and beautifully filmed, with perfectly handled narration from Jeremy Irons.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Life On Fire: Wildlife On The Volcanos Edge (2 Disc) - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Life on Fire: Wildlife on the Volcano’s Edge on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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[amazon-product]B00B1E6FQ2[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Life On Fire: Wildlife On The Volcanos Edge (2 Disc) - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Life on Fire: Wildlife on the Volcano’s Edge on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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