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May 11, 2012
BluRay Review and Media Overload: Frozen Planet
— Posted by The "Superior" Anthony
Synopsis: A BBC/Discovery Channel co-production four years in the making, Frozen Planet is ambitious and epic in scale and provides the ultimate portrait of our earth’s Polar Regions, capturing the power of natural elements and the fragile, jaw-dropping beauty of scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. This landmark high definition series brings to the screen the frozen wilderness of the polar region for what could be the last time before they change forever.
Featuring the incredible wildlife cinematography that made Planet Earth a worldwide success, Frozen Planet has taken new technology to the most extreme and remote parts of our planet capturing groundbreaking imagery above and below the ice.
Encounter spectacles that few of us will ever witness first hand. Go deep under the sea-ice into a magical world of giants, plunge into the heart of an erupting polar volcano and fly to the South Pole across the Antarctic icecap, the largest concentration of ice on earth, retracing the steps of the great Polar explorers.
The documentary tells tales of some of the cutest, and some of the scariest animals that roam the earth in from an intimate perspective that allowed to me bear witness to their stories from a faux first hand perspective. We’re introduced to many different species of throughout the documentary that are both dazzling and intimidating at the same time. One of the most memorable things while watching this was with the opportunity to learn about the different the constance of life throughtout the year and through tthe different seasons at both of earth’s poles.
Seeing the different type of penguins that would travel to and from the frozen continent of Antartica was highly enjoyable. For someone who recently had the pleasure of watching “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” on BluRay and it was a fun departure to see these animals filmed naturally rather than the CGI doppelgangers. The series manages a balance of being both educational and entertaining by delivering a very soothing narration by alum David Attenborough as he tells tales within the frames of video that provide a harmony and resonance with the footage. The stories of the Adelie penguins are some of the most interesting that most endearing beings that I’ve seen in some time with the story of travelling to the Arctic to their mating rituals, to the protection and raising of their eggs into life and adulthood with over 5 million of them making this trip and performing this ritual each year. The way these creatures care for their young will have more than one person pointing out the similarities between them and what may happen in their own household. It’s that type of humanizing and care that makes Attenborough special as his ‘grandfather-ish’ voice makes you feel that you’re being provided with wisdom rather than facts.
The series does take time to feature other inhabitants and the filmmakers take great care to find additional stories to share within the series with Polar Bears being tracked throughout the year. You follow how the females raise the young and the males wander for food and more females to mate with. Yeah, real humanized. But the intimacy of it all is why this all seems exceptional as you watch as the Mother gives birth to her young while hibernating, and then taking them to learn how to hunt and swim. The proximity of the camera to the action is when one wonders if they are actually brave enough to get that close, or have really exceptional zoom lenses because the images that are show are of absolute pristine quality. These filmmakers even, somehow, manage to film and document the lives of the wildlife that spend a majority of their time underground with footage of caterpillars taking years to gather enough resources to make the transformation to moths, to indigenous mice that scatter in and out of a network of tunnels to forage for food.
Another aspect that I can’t help but talk about is the sheer beauty of the environements and some of the facts mentioned while watching this documentary. You witness enormous and mighty waterfalls slow and then freeze to a standstill. Yout witness architecture of ice so magnificent in appearance of its formation crumble and crack of the side of the landscapes creating incredibly large icebergs that are exponentially larger than any man-made skyscraper. And you watch through the entire cycle of the formation and destruction of these phenomena which is really what makes this enjoyable. You see the entire thing. From Winter to Winter and everything in between. Each season brings a transformation to these frozen worlds and seeing them from beginning to end is what helps put in in perspective that there’s an entire world of events on the frozen parts of our planet that most people are oblivious about.
There are many things about this Bluray set that I haven’t given enough detail about or just omitted entirely. The reason being is that there’s just so much packed into this wonderful collection that it literally filled 3 Bluray discs. Something that also padded the collection is that there’s an additional 90 minutes of footage not shown on television that range from mini “making of” shorts that show just how brave and the incredible conditions these filmmakers endured to create this series and their personal insights on the experience. These guys actually went a little nuts in the isolation and time spent living with the wildlife. I haven’t even spoken about the guys who lived with the penguins with the 140 MPH winds battering down their shelter. Nor have I mentioned the underwater life that inhabit the frozen portions of our planet ranging from Humpbacks, Killer Whales, Seals, Walrus’ and more. Did I mention the slow motion animal fights? The Polar bears getting attacked by birds? The Wolves hunting Bisons? With over 6hours of footage packed into this collection this BluRay is a value for nature lovers and more And the image quality is just outright GORGEOUS. This is why HDTV exists. If you have an HD TV and think you’ve seen why you own one already then I recommend that you buy or rent these series on Bluray and prepare to be stunned. Yes this sounds incredibly dramatic but it’s TRUE. It’s all TRUE. I enjoyed watching this entire set and strongly recommend this to any who have flipped through cable and found themselves enchanted by the BBC documentaries when they air. The picture quality is superb, the footage incredible, and the narration endearing.
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