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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Life (4-disc narrated by David Attenborough) [Blu-ray]

 

(Simon Blakeney, Stephen Lyle, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (as BBC Productions Bristol) and Discovery Channel

Video: BBC / Warner

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Episode Runtime: 1:01:02.659 (X 10 episodes)

Disc One Size: 45,785,564,413 bytes

Average Episode Size: 14,911,881,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.29 Mbps

Chapters: 6 per episode

Case: Custom Blu-ray book-style case in cardboard box

Release date: June 1st, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

The 10-episode miniseries on four discs
Life on Location: 10 behind-the-scenes video diaries found at the conclusion of each episode
1080p, except "Plants," which is 1080i

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD High-Res Audio English 2046 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2046 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• "Life on Location" - ten 'behind-the-scenes' video diaries found in the conclusion of each episode showing the exhaustive efforts by the filmmaking team to bring the remarkable series to the screen

• High Definition 'Set-up Guide'

 

Bitrate (Disc one):

 

 

Description: From the award-winning BBC Natural History Unit, makers of Planet Earth and The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, this is the original UK broadcast version of Life, with narration by renowned naturalist David Attenborough and music by Oscar and Emmy winning composer George Fenton in Planet Earth, we brought you the world as you’ve never seen it before. Now, get closer with Life. Four years in the making, filmed over 3000 days, across every continent and in every habitat, with breathtaking new high definition filming techniques developed since Planet Earth, Life presents 130 incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world, 54 of which have never been filmed before. Packed with excitement, revelation and entertainment, this remarkable 10-part blockbuster captures unprecedented, astonishingly beautiful sequences and demonstrates the spectacular and extraordinary tactics animals and plants have developed to survive and thrive.

 

 

The Film:

Discover the glorious variety of life on Earth and the innovative, intelligent and sometimes bizarre tactics animals and plants employ in order to survive. More than four years in the making, taking full advantage of the latest advances in filming technology, this breathtaking ten-part blockbuster reveals the natural world’s most remarkable behaviour in unprecedented depth and detail.

Full of amazing filming ‘firsts’ on every continent and in every habitat – from 250 six foot Humboldt squid hunting as a pack to Komodo dragons (the world’s largest venomous animal) stalking buffalo and cheetahs (notorious lone hunters) working cooperatively to hunt prey twice their size – this is evolution in front of your eyes. Yet this astonishing series is not simply about revelation, it is also about entertainment. With sequences that inspire awe, wonder, sadness and humour, Life allows us to truly relate to the animals and their endeavours, and to understand and appreciate them as never before.


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Firstly, DON'T get the U.S.-ified 'Oprah' version (I won't even include a link - just in case) with the talk show host and 'media mogul' as narrator. It was her voice in the Discovery Channel version. I've heard long segments of it and it is vastly inferior to naturalist David Attenborough's take. It seems totally ridiculous to have altered this. You will lose much of the value without his narration. Attenborough has been the face and voice of natural history programs for more than 30 years. His name is synonymous with the absolute best in wildlife documentaries. It is not an 'import' - you can get from Amazon.com.

 

Culled from thousands upon thousands of hours of footage - we are truly getting the visual crème-de-la-crème here with the 10 X 60-minute segments of Life on Blu-ray. BBC Warner have put together a must-own package with an image that continuously encourages your eyes to be riveted to the screen. The first three disc transfers (9 of the 10 episodes) are in 1080P - while the last, 'Plants' is in 1080i. This is always the real thing from scenes under the Oceans - to extreme close-ups and aerial shots of majestic vistas. Colors show realistic brilliance and detail is exceptional at times. Along with the content the presentation produces some of the most appealing images on hi-definition to date. These discs can easily be put on when you have friends over - although may tend to be conversation stoppers because of the stellar video and educational impressiveness.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is offered in a DTS-HD Hi-Res 5.1 at 2046 kbps. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio is selected as an optional surround sound format holding constant bit rates from 6.0 to 3.0 Mbps. It is, infrequently, used in place of DTS-HD Master Audio where disc space is limited. It is, however, still considered lossless. Anyway, bottom line is that it sounds excellent. We get mostly 'front' narration with no much in the way of animal/environment sounds for separations. It exists but is far more limited. The package offers optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified them as being a region FREE discs playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Following the guts of each episode is a kind of epilogue referred to as "Life on Location". It is part of all ten segments and is a kind of 'behind-the-scenes' video diary by the filmmakers. It, too, has interesting information and helps garner more appreciation as to the lengths - especially time-wise - that the producers went to in obtaining the footage. There was an incredible commitment here. We also get a High Definition 'Set-up Guide' with some clear  steps in helping systems obtain the best A/V output. This is video and audio instruction (with optional subs and an 'Advanced Mode') and a great idea, in my opinion.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Desiring to understand the world in which you reside is, or rather should be, part of your inherent nature - but seeing it in such glorious visuals can be totally humbling. How is it that I do not know so much about my world; the environment and the creatures that I share it with? You owe it to yourself to take a few hours out of your busy life and watch this on Blu-ray or even SD. Visual enlightenment and global education continues the precedent set by Planet Earth. Watch Life soon and you will never regret the time spent.

 

Obviously the Blu-ray is the way to see Life with Nature's majesty mesmerizing you over and over again. Being a fan of this type of entertainment wouldn't be necessary to enjoy this repeatedly. Our very highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

May 29th, 2010

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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