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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Large Frame Format > Animal Planet Blu-ray Wave: Africa’s Elephant Kingdom/The Beauty Of Snakes/The World’s Biggest & Baddest Bugs

Animal Planet Blu-ray Wave: Africa’s Elephant Kingdom/The Beauty Of Snakes/The World’s Biggest & Baddest Bugs


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Main Programs: B-



It is fair to say that the special interest category of nature films and documentaries have been more successful early on with the Blu-ray format than one might have first thought, so many companies are putting out product to take advantage of demand.  Genius Entertainment and Animal Planet have issued three basic editions of three specials they believe consumers will want to buy.  Africa’s Elephant Kingdom, The Beauty Of Snakes and The World’s Biggest & Baddest Bugs are being issued as part of an early 2009 Blu wave.


Africa’s Elephant Kingdom is the oldest of the shows, filmed in 70mm IMAX, it is a solid 40-minutes-long journey into these powerful, underrated, underestimated animals and the world they live in.  It is also one of the better programs in general on the subject of elephants.  The Beauty Of Snakes was shot in HD and gets many great shots (dangerously obtained in more than a few cases) of snakes, their diversity, talents, skills and unique abilities.  Always intriguing, it is a good show at 43 minutes.  The World’s Biggest & Baddest Bugs is a crash course on insects, particularly unique ones, big ones and ones that show the diversity of the species.  It runs 87 minutes, but might be too long for the squeamish.


The 1080p image on all three presentations are weak and detail challenged, especially for a high definition format like Blu-ray.  Snakes and Bugs are in the 1.78 X 1 frame, while genius has decided to retain the block style 1.33 X 1 IMAX frame for Elephant, though a 1.78 X 1 version might have been preferred and brought out more detail and depth in what is a fine shoot.  Also disappointing is the sound, where the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes in all cases are too much towards the screen with too much center channel action and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sounding better in all cases.  There are no extras on any of the discs, but next time, there should be.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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