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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Science > Oceans > Geography > Ecosystems > Mini-Series > British TV > BBC Atlas Of The Natural World: Africa & Europe/Western Hemisphere & Antarctica (BBC DVD Box set)

BBC Atlas Of The Natural World: Africa & Europe/Western Hemisphere & Antarctica (BBC DVD Box set)


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



The BBC has issued what were already two solid box sets from their BBC Atlas Series as one larger set (via simple slipcase) and we reviewed one half of it with some other BBC releases a while ago at this link:





I was very impressed with the Africa/Europe set and was hoping some or all of it would hit Blu-ray by now.  The half not covered here before is the Western Hemisphere/Antarctica set.  This one offers more older productions as all but one of the subject sections is at 1.33 X 1, leaving only the newer Wild South America presented in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 playback.  That makes the overall picture quality a bit softer and I hope the BBC is restoring the older filmed versions for future HD use.


The Wild South America segment offers six episodes over 2 DVDs covering the Amazon in several shows, The Great Plains and other rarely seen parts of this vital locale.  You can guess where the six-episode, single DVD Life In The Freezer section covers (though we hope it is not warming up), Spirit Of The Jaguar (four episodes on a single DVD) shows us great animals, lands and locales (like priceless rain forests) in the Caribbean and Central America.  That leaves the eight-episode, two-DVD Land Of The Eagle, which brings us back to the U.S. and is the first set of discs in the rich Digi-Pak book-like holder.


The 1.33 X 1 shows are filmed, but from older PAL analog video sources, though you can see flaws from the prints in all cases.  The 1.78 show is cleaner, but not always clearer, though it has some good visual moments as they all do.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is usually monophonic, but the newest show is in Stereo.  Like the other half of the set, you get advanced pop-up features that offer factoids that you can click onto in some cases for more information that will pause the program in progress.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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