Boredom of the Blue Whale. give it a miss
buru buru piggu | New York, NY USA | 06/11/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you are going by the name and cover art of this disc, you will be disappointed. This film shouldn't be called "Kingdom of the Blue Whale" at all. It should really be called "The Whale Searchers", or "Kingdom of the Whale Scientist in Orange Lifevests" and feature a photo of researchers in boats on the cover, instead of a prominent whale fluke.
Viewers expecting to see a lot of extended shots of whales interacting underwater, with lush photography, will be let down. The film opens by saying that there is very little we know about these elusive creatures and by the end of the film, I felt unsatisfied with what little I learned after spending the 96 minutes to get through the slow and plodding documentary.
The product blurb says "We dive deep under the surface with blue whales to discover what they do at depth", yet there is very little underwater photography. Most of the film takes place above the waterline, showing the researchers in their boats, not whales. There are some aerial shots, but the camera exhibits jitter. A lot of the whale surfacing shots are taken afar with zoom lenses and seem to be standard definition shots enlarged and upscaled for HD. Some of the shots are even repeated 4 or 5 times, such as the pan of the baby whale at the end. Noticeable visual problems plague some of the shots, including color banding. I noticed some distracting artefacting problems with the sky in at least one shot.
The included "extra feature" is actually only a 6 minute short. It's in 480i. No subtitles.
Finally, the disc is not rated, but I will state that it is not for young or sensitive viewers. For its graphic depictions of dead whales (victims of ship strikes), and hunks of whale meat being sold in Tokyo, it would carry a PG-13 rating. There's even a few seconds showing a dead mother whale and an aborted whale baby washed up on a California beach, so be forewarned. This disc is not intended for young children.
To sum up: a boring, low-budget feeling documentary that disappoints. It's only minimally educational and not very entertaining. It shows people, not whales. Skip this, or just watch it on the Nat Geo channel."
Too much narration, not enough whale
D. J. Nardi | Washington, DC | 12/19/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"With a title like "Kingdom of the Blue Whale," one would think that you'd see a lot of footage of the blue whale. However, National Geographic's National Geographic: Kingdom of the Blue Whale [Blu-ray] is a documentary about conducting research on blue whales. It had disappointingly little on the whales themselves. Tom Selleck's narration just seemed to drone on - certainly no David Attenborough. If you want to see a scene with awesome blue whales, check out The Life of Mammals, Vol. 1-4."
P. Bellamy | Lemoore, CA | 09/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After watching this DVD today at the Marine Mammal rescue operations site in Morro Bay, CA, I was enthralled with the information I gained. Researchers all over the world in all areas of science deserve our respect and awe at their dedication and insight. I didn't go into it expecting to see tons of underwater photography, so I wasn't disappointed in the least. This was one of the best documentaries I have seen in a while. It is now on my Christmas list and I will be sharing it with anyone interested in whales, conservation and education. As for it being unrated, I am a retired grade two and three teacher, and due to the level of the content, might be more appropriate for grades seven and above, or the age equivalent, as teachers rarely have the time to show something of this length. I didn't find the parts with the whale carcasses particularly offensive, just wondered how the folks working with them could stand the odor so well. Yes, some frames are repeated, but I think that happens often in documentaries. I look forward to the time when a follow-up can be made so we can know what they further have learned."