Technology has allowed for a massive number of changes to the world of entertainment. From HDTV to 3DTV to gaming devices of all shapes and sizes, the way in which we consume entertainment is radically different now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Of course, the changes haven't just come on the consumption end, they've come on the production side of things of things, too, and one of the places that is most evident is with the nature documentary. Technology has allowed far more to be captured on film (or video) in the past 10 years than was previously possible. And now, four fantastic BBC Natural History Unit documentaries have been collected in a single box set for our viewing pleasure.
Combined in said single box (though with separate cases), are 10 Blu-ray discs which feature Planet Earth: Special Edition, Wild China, Galapagos, and Ganges. This is 19 hours (plus bonus material) of high definition, gorgeous views of our planet and an inside look at how it all works. From frozen tundras to hidden caves to elements that have radically shaped the lives of countries (and the world) to a look at evolution, these four documentaries represent years upon years of work and provide the viewer a far greater understanding of our planet and its history.
The star of the set is Planet Earth, which originally aired on the BBC in March of 2006 and in the States in June of 2007 (this is the British version, with Richard Attenborough providing the narration, not Sigourney Weaver). Over the course of 11 episodes, each running approximately 50 minutes, we get to go from a macro view to episodes which focus on smaller aspects – caves, deserts, shallow seas, and seasonal forests just to name a few.
Everyone will find something different that particularly spurs their imagination and sense of wonder over the course of Planet Earth's 11 episodes, but for this reviewer, the stand out is the episode "Caves," which, as one would surmise, is an in-depth discussion of cave formation, cave life, and the importance of them. There is even a discussion of a guano mound and the life which thrives therein in a cave in Borneo. The episode also features incredible footage of people BASE jumping into a cave in Mexico, an all-around impressive feat, especially considering the size of the cave.