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Madagascar [2011] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: BBC
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • List Price: $34.99

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Madagascar (2011) -

Purchase Madagascar on Bu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:5/5]

No one does the nature or science series like the BBC. They have always set the bar very, very high, and it has always been up to the rest of the world to catch up. It’s only fitting then that from the beginning of the Blu-ray format, it has been the BBC sitting atop the throne with the ultimate reference documentary series in Planet Earth and its “sequels” Life and Human Planet, not to mention a plethora of series sprinkled about, equally compelling in their own right, such as Wild China, just to give an example.

Madagascar adds to that growing list of compelling, brilliantly filmed, reference-quality series from these masters of the genre. Once again narrated by the veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough, this three episode series focuses on the African Island of Madagascar, the fourth largest and oldest island in the world. It’s an island so vast it features pockets of microclimates equal to that of a continent. The first episode, “Island of Marvels” introduces us to these climatic variations, the multitude of creatures born out of years of isolation, such as the various lemurs, chameleons, and tortoises, and vegetation. Episode two, “Lost Worlds” focuses on the island’ s highlands and rainforests, where food is abundant, mating is easy, and water leads to a luxuriant life. Finally, the series ends with “Land of Heat and Dust,” where the opposite, western side of the island, blocked off from the rains by the high mountains of the east, finds a much harder life of arid plains, a struggle to find underground waters, and unique plants and animals adapted for this rugged lifestyle.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The BBC continues to set the standard for high definition nature series with not only the quality of their content, but also the reference quality of their imagery with this Madagascar release on Blu-ray. No one will be catching up to them anytime soon. Madagascar‘s 1080i/60 VC-1 encodement looks awesome, with pristine images free from artifacts of any kind, strong details, and natural color reproduction. It is almost like looking through an open window on the incredible world that is this vast isolated island.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Too bad the audio track isn’t up to snuff with the rest of the content here. There is only lossy stereo Dolby Digital 2.0 at a mid-level bitrate provided. It does the job with a reasonably clear narration in the center, but the spread of sounds across the stereo soundfield aren’t quite as believable as they could have been. It would also have been nice to hear the sounds of this marvelous world in surround, but, alas, it’s not to be.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Each episode ends with what has become a trademark for the BBC, a diary of the episode’s production, summing up the production crew’s challenge capturing particular segments in that episode. There is also an additional Lemurs of Madagascar (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:30.58) episode from the BBC and the terrific Attenborough and the Giant Egg (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:58.47), which follows the famous naturalist on his return to this island fifty-years after his first trip there, to investigate further what happened to the island’s extinct elephant birds.

  • Madagascar Diaries
  • Lemurs of Madagascar (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:38.58)
  • Attenborough and the Giant Egg (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:58.47)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Splendid, magnificent, and a pure joy to watch. There aren’t enough descriptives for this series. It isn’t just eye candy, it is eye candy with brains behind it. The BBC has another winner on their hands, so make room on your shelf and pick this one up immediately.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004PHSTZ2[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Madagascar (2011) -

Purchase Madagascar on Bu-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:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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