Folks, I’ll put it plain and simple: THIS IS WHAT HIGH DEFINITION HOME THEATER SYSTEMS WERE MADE FOR! Run out now for Tuesday’s dual release in Blu-ray and HD DVD and plunk down the $50+ bucks you’ll find it for at most retailers, then run home and pop in the first disc in this collection and be simply astounded by the breathtaking detail and jaw-dropping clarity of this acclaimed production. This is the full, 11-part BBC series and not the Discovery Channel version that aired in the US with narration by Sigourney Weaver (which was widely panned despite the visual brilliance), rather this is the more thorough version that aired in Britain and Europe with each episode ends with 10-minute Planet Earth Diaries and includes 90 minutes not shown on the Discovery Channel version as well as a bonus movie: The Dream Is Alive.
Filmed in high-definition over five years, the series documents how life on Earth evolved and prospered and shows the different climes and hazards that face our living planet. This is simply an extraordinary documentary event and truly enjoys a vaunted position in any home video library, but especially a hi-def home video library. If you have a hi-def system and aren’t at least contemplating this release as a purchase, then you’re not getting the most from your Blu-ray or HD DVD player. High definition isn’t meant for older re-releases that utilize a transfer system from analog film to digital formats, nope… it’s made to realize the ultimate in video and audio quality and Planet Earth is the perfect realization of the hi-def home theater concept. It’s incredible looking and man, sometimes the images just made me want to weep with the joy of being alive. There’s stuff here you’ve never seen in a National Geographic documentary, and it’s never boring. This folks, is a showcase disc… show it off on your full HD system and you will be the envy of friends and family.
The included episodes are:
• From Pole to Pole
• Fresh Water
• Ice Worlds
• Great Plains
• Shallow Seas
• Seasonal Forests
• Ocean Deep
UH-OH, if this hi-def release is so awesome how come it doesn’t include 110-minutes of bonus behind-the-scenes footage AND the 150-minute companion series The Future (the conservationist part of Planet Earth)?? What gives?
Well, it’s a trade off. The standard DVD release offers 5-discs and those aforementioned features but does not offer top-notch hi-def video quality. It still looks great, but truly the Blu-ray and HD DVD releases are mind-blowing, melt-your-eyeballs quality and I recommend these releases for the hi-def library over the standard DVD package unless you care less about hi-def quality and simply want more goodies and insight into the series.
The Blu-ray video is offered at 1080p resolution in widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. No word on the compression codec used, but I’m assuming from what I’ve seen that it’s the highest quality codecs for both hi-def formats. Blu-ray audio is offered with MLP Lossless sound compression in PCM 5.1 surround.