Great Peaks (WGBH NOVA Mountains Box Set)
Sound: C+ Extras: C- Episodes: B
WGBH Boston Video has brought together another set of
their Nova programs with a common
theme, mountains. There are five
separate releases and we
have previously covered two of these five volumes as follows:
Everest – The Death Zone
leaves the following three…
Decent Into The Ice takes us to Mt. Blanc in The Alps
of Western Europe, loaded with glaciers that add up to a 1000-foot-thick “Sea
Of Ice” (Mer de Glace), which the explores go into. It is like nothing you have seen before and
if it keeps melting, you might not see again.
This is a standout installment in a strong set to begin with.
Mountain Of Ice takes us to Vinton Massif, the
peak of Antarctica and a new trip to the South Pole that recalls historic such
trips of the past and looks to the future for visits and how global warming
will affect the region. Jon Krakauer is
an explorer and writer, so he does de facto narration, joining a team that
includes ace climber Conrad Anker. That
gives it a nice personal change of pace feel.
Volcano Above The Clouds is an hour devoted to Africa’s
amazing Mt Kilimanjaro and an expedition to see how global warming has shrunk
it, how this mighty cause it to collapse on its side ala Mt. St. Helen’s and
how the history of this natural wonder could give us clues as to what is next
for it and the people around them.
In all three cases, the letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image looks
goods but not great as usual for a digital High Definition production that
really should be anamorphically enhanced for DVD, but will be in some HD format
sooner or later. That is good, because
these shows tend to be nicely shot.
In general, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on all the
programs do not have any major surrounds in most cases and the usual DVD-ROM
printable material is the only major extra here on all the volumes except Everest. However, this is a comprehensive box set and
if you have to have more than one, you might as well have all five.
- Nicholas Sheffo