- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Running Time: 300 minutes
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copy: UltraViolet
- Studio: BBC
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 26, 2013
- List Price: $34.98
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Narrator Sir David Attenborough and director Michael Gunton take us on an unprecedented trip that sheds copious light on the “dark” continent with Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown. This 5-hour travelogue is composed of six chapters that mark the incredible diversity of Africa’s topography and geography, featuring some first-ever night footage of the rare black rhinoceros in the wild. The episode list follows:
- Kalahari: a dry barren and nearly inhospitable region that forces its animal species to co-adapt to these challenging living conditions
- Savannah: lush verdant landscapes feature a wide range of animal life.
- Congo: dense mysterious jungles are home to some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet.
- “The Making of” featurettes for each episode.
- Cape: the confluence of two oceans makes for this region’s incredible diversity of its feathered, furry, and finned denizens.
- Sahara: a nearly extraterrestrial setting with frequent sandstorms and relentless heat
- The Future: Attenborough speculates on the encroachment of man into the natural habitats of Africa’s creatures and how this bodes for their survival.
- “The Making of”featurettes for each episode
- Bonus Material
Of the BBC Earth series that I have seen to date, Africa rates at the very top of the list for the quality of its visual takes, storyline, and the nigh perfect editing of the countless hours of raw material.
Another slam dunk for BBC Earth. The elements of this environment are seen as never before. One has to only go to one of the chapters to appreciate how the cinematographers reached out and got the essence of these natural miracles.
The default dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack by Sarah Class and Will Slater continues the atmospheric tradition of veteran composer George Fenton but with their distinct stylistic inventions. Again, the narration is crisp and clear.
Besides the featurettes on the making of each episode, Disc 2 gives us one hour of additional goodies (all in high definition and in Dolby Digital Stereo):
- Interviews with producer Gunton, narrator Attenborough, James Honeybourne, Martyn Colbeck, and Richard Matthews
- An additional outtakes and deleted scenes.
The Definitive Word
This is a nature series to beat them all. Most viewers, myself included, who have never been to Africa will get a virtual tour with expert guidance, seeing sights rarely ever witnessed by humans. The incredibly varied terrain is captured to a tee; the individual stories are seamlessly woven into the unfolding fabric of these epic chapters. Highly recommended for audiences of all ages and backgrounds as not just a learning experience but as a true revelation of life on a continent with a plethora of interesting animal species.
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