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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Water > Oceans > Ecosystem > Sea Life > Environment > Science > Geology > The Great Rift – Africa’s Greatest Story (2010/BBC Earth Blu-ray + DVD)

The Great Rift – Africa’s Greatest Story (2010/BBC Earth Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



Actor Hugh Quarshie (Highlander, Nightbreed) narrates a new three-episode BBC/Animal Planet nature documentary mini-series The Great Rift – Africa’s Greatest Story (aka The Great Rift – Africa’s Wild Heart) that goes on location to the East African Mountains (and surrounding areas) to show the unique formation they are, how they were formed, their unique history, the great animal species that live there, the surrounding areas (including underground and underwater) and many only there and what a priceless and vital locale it is.


The three hour-long shows here are entitled Fire, Water and Grass, which gives the producers plenty of time to show all the great footage they have and give us all the scientific and statistical information they can squeeze into each show.  The BBC is doing so many of these shows, but they manage to keep them interesting and different enough that the shows do not get boring or repetitious and continue to create what they hope will later be seen as a golden age of nature documentaries.  Even if they don’t manage that, they’ll come very close.  This is a strong showing about a place we do not see or hear enough about and is very much recommended.



The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is shot on location in High Definition digital video and has some motion blur and softness (including from its digital animation models), but looks good for such a documentary series.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is a bit softer still, but all have good color and interesting, one-of-a-kind shots.  The DTS-HD High Resolution (HR) 2.0 Stereo mix on the Blu-ray is warm and not bad, with the location audio decent and new music somewhat prominent.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the DVD is notably weaker, but not bad.  The only extra is the 10+ minutes behind the scenes Inside The Great Rift featurette at the end of the last episode, hidden there in the chapters menu.


I have found this common on overseas DVDs, hiding a sole extra after the program.  There are no main menu ways to get to it or a note about where it is.  This is not good and something that needs to be altered in future releases in general.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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