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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Mini-Series > British > Galapagos (BBC Home Video/Blu-ray/HD-DVD/DVD-Video)

Galapagos (BBC Home Video/Blu-ray/HD-DVD/DVD-Video)


Picture: B+/B+/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: B



After the huge across the board success with the David Attenborough-narrated Planet Earth (2006) in Blu-ray, HD-DVD and DVD-Video, BBC Home Video has moved fast to unearth another nature program produced in HD and their choice is the more than worth Galapagos.  It is a mini-series in three parts.  They include Born Of Fire, Island That Changed The World and Forces Of Change.


It turns out that these are the islands that Darwin used as his proof that evolution exists and that so many key discoveries were made here centuries ago that they advanced natural science in extraordinary ways.  In its 150 minutes, chosen from many hours of priceless footage of all the animal life there, the documentary is very rich in the history, locales, species and environment that make them up and so vital to the world.  Once again, HD makes a subject some may have trouble finding involving suddenly very involving and interesting.  The narration is written very well, matched by great research and images that combine to be so palpable that it sometimes feels like you are visiting.


If they keep making nature programs this interesting, the BBC might just launch a new cycle early in HDTV that delivers the promise of what HD can really give its audience.  In all three formats, the program’s playback is very entertaining.  Let’s hope it is as much a hit as Planet Earth.


The program was shot in 1080p (and maybe some 1080i) HD presented in 1.78 X 1 on all three formats released in 1080p except for the 480 of the anamorphically enhanced standard DVD.  Though there are the shots that look soft and substandard, they are far less common than on the Planet Earth set, so fans of that set will be happy on that point.  The Video Red still has its limits, but this looks really good for an HD shoot overall.  Then there is the sound, which is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in all cases, with the “Plus” dubbing once again missing on the HD-DVD.  The sound is pretty good in all cases, do not differ much, but it is not as good as the 5.1 on Planet Earth.  The sound effects on location are decent, while Tilda Swinton is well-spoken doing her narration, though the 2.0 in all cases has some minor issues resoling her voice at time.  There are no extras, though subtitles are available.


For more on Planet Earth, you can read about it on all three formats at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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