- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English
- Region: A (B? C?)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 3
- Studio: BBC
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 26, 2011
- List Price: $49.98
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(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
In the tradition of Planet Earth and Life, the BBC bring us this new documentary series Human Planet. The series focuses on what is the planet’s greatest species of all – humans. A remarkable look at cultures around the globe and humanity’s amazing ability to survive in even the harshest of environments, Human Planet is beautifully filmed, awe inspiring, and truly captivating television.
The Blu-ray and DVD release treats viewers to the original BBC broadcast of Human Planet, which includes all 8 episodes narrated with intensity by John Hurt. The North American broadcasts trims the series down to 6 episodes that culminate in a “Life at the Extremes” “best of ” episode, all narrated by Charles Parnell. The home video release also contains the episode “Cities” not available elsewhere, which looks at the challenges faced by humans in urban environments as they still crash against nature, which pervasively pushes back against our modernity while some of us try to get back in touch with our roots in nature.
Altogether, the series weaves 80 fascinating stories that are impossible to turn away from and like all BBC documentaries, are enlightening, uplifting, and educational.
The 1080i/60 VC-1 doesn’t look quite as sharp as a 1080p image would, but this high-definition production looks really good anyway, as has come to be expected from these BBC documentaries. There are a few visible motion artifacts and detail is sometimes not as sharp as it could be, but otherwise Human Planet is a pleasure to watch.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack offers a wide, engaging soundstage filled with sound effects that range from subtle to rather aggressive. The narration in the center channel from John Hurt is clear and stays above the music and sound effects.
Each episode on Human Planet ends with a “Behind the Lens” featurette, going behind-the-scenes and exploring the production of the episode. Additionally, there are three extra Behind the Lens featurettes, Fez (1.78:1; 1080i/60; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; 0:10.29), and Volcano (1.78:1; 1080i/60; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; 0:09.52) on Disc 3, and Zanskar (BD-Live), accessible from Disc 3. There is also the bonus episode “Cities” available only on this home video release.
The Definitive Word
Human Planet is yet another excellent documentary from the BBC. Its sets a high standard for this sort of anthropological series in high definition that most likely won’t be met by anyone else anytime soon.
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