Four years in the making, filmed over 3000 days, across every continentand in every habitat, Life is the latest wildlife blockbuster from the BBC?s award-winning Natural History Unit, the producers of Planet Earth and The ... more »Blue Planet. Packed with excitement, revelation, entertainment, and stunning screen firsts, this breathtaking ten-part epic presents 130incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world. Discover theglorious variety of life onEarth and the spectacular and extraordinary tactics animals and plants have developed to stay alive. This is evolution in action; individual creatures under extreme pressure to overcome challenges from adversaries and their environment, pushing the boundaries of behavior.« less
Laura F. (papaschild) from KANSAS CITY, MO Reviewed on 8/26/2011...
This is incredible nature footage. BBC is unsurpassed - even with all the other excellent work out there by National Geographic, Nova, etc. There is another version available that is narrated by Oprah, but THIS IS THE ONE TO GET. No one can compare with David Attenborough when it comes to this type of narration.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Natural Educational Dramedy - another great job by the BBC
Zev Toledano | 01/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over the past two decades, the BBC Natural History Unit has become a prolific documentary factory of the highest order, with ever-improving skills and increasing dedication. Some of their productions are relatively minor, but this is one of their flagships, and you can tell this because they use David Attenborough as the narrator (who is still in top form).
The theme for this 10-part series is the challenges of life and how various animals and plants solve them. This includes unusual and extreme food gathering techniques, hunting strategies, surprising evolutionary weapons and defenses, adaptations to harsh environments, mating rituals, and the lengths they go to in order to pick the right breeding partners.
Each episode covers this vast topic in specific areas: The first episode is an overview and top-20 hit parade of the upcoming episodes. Each of the ensuing episodes then cover a branch of the animal kingdom, including reptiles, insects, mammals, plants, birds, fish, with additional specialized episodes covering hunting, sea-life and primates.
This will obviously overlap with many of their previous releases, especially The Trials of Life, Attenborough's series covering the animal kingdom, and even The Living Planet and Planet Earth. But their approach here is interestingly well-chosen: Previously covered footage and educational information is usually summarized, before continuing with the more obscure, the upgraded, and the exciting new details.
For example, The Private Life of Plants is obviously much more comprehensive and educational, but this show's episode on plants features things like a 60-second time-lapse shot of growing life in the woodlands that took two years to create, new information on the strange shape of the Dragon's Blood tree, and more footage on the Venus Flytrap, this time its dual use of insects complete with tiny sound recordings.
Now, I have a pet peeve about repetition. This show's annoyingly useless overview episode, and the fact that much of the information and footage lacks freshness and has been covered before, all tempt me to rate this show lower. But the combination of nicely summarized educational information, a good theme and structure, new amazing cinematography that uses the latest skills and technology, and some new exciting footage that I don't think I have ever seen before, compels me to give this top marks. This is a much better release than Planet Earth.
In addition, while many nature documentaries have elements of drama and laughs, this show has more than usual, and you will find yourself frequently touched, horrified or very amused by all of the amazing behaviour on screen, all obviously very real.
The BBC also continue their recent trend that devotes the last 10 minutes of each episode to a 'making of' featurette. These are usually just as interesting as the footage and you can always stop watching if you aren't interested, so I suppose I can't complain. But keep in mind that if you subtract the overview episode and diary scenes, you are actually getting 450 minutes instead of 600.
In summary: If you are relatively new to BBC documentaries, this will amaze you to no end AND provide a nice informative summary of life on earth. If you are a seasoned watcher of Attenborough's series, you can still enjoy this series as a combination of educational summary, a provider of new, complementary and upgraded information with some of the most beautiful, rare and amazing footage ever recorded, and even as a highly entertaining natural drama and comedy, or 'nature dramedy', if I may coin a phrase.
However, if you place emphasis on educational and more comprehensive information, Attenborough's previous Life series still reign supreme and will probably remain unequalled for a long, long time. "
A message from someone who should know
B. Cromer | New York City | 03/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BBC Video will be bringing four versions of Life to market. The original UK broadcast version narrated by David Attenborough will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. Similarly the Discovery version narrated by Oprah Winfrey will be available on both DVD and on Blu-ray. Each version has its own key art and clearly mentions the narrator on the front and back. Both contain loads of never-before-seen sequences and amazing photography and music and are organized along the same lines. We felt that in our networked world, there was no point in our trying to pick a single version for this marketplace. Instead we're giving every consumer the opportunity to own the version they want.
This is why I bought a blu-ray player!
baron von hofmann | 04/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen the first two in this series in both the Attenborough and Oprah narrations. The Attenborough version is, of course, the better of the two. While there is a general idea (at least among American anti-intellectuals) that scientists are boring, uptight, fuddy-duddies, the truth is that the well-educated populizers of science, such as Attenborough, still hold a very dear place in the hearts of a very large group of people in America who have not yet gone bat guano crazy. The reason why a man like Sir David Attenborough is so well esteemed among enthusiasts of nature documentary, whereas Oprah Winfrey is not, is because when one devotes their entire life to the understanding of a certain topic they are able to bring a wonder-filled enthusiasm, backed by a substantial knowledge, to that topic. Most of us are not looking for a "Wow...Look...nature is cool!" sort of commentary. We already understand that. We wish for someone to fill us with the wonder of understanding. The only thing that separates humankind from the animals in these documentaries is that we are truly *thinking* about them. Why stare, slack-jawed, as if nature were a train wreck while ludicrously under-qualified talk show hosts point and extrapolate the obvious when we can spend that time in awe while actually learning? This documentary is one of the finest ever made, but only the BBC version is worth consideration."
Another Top Notch Effort from BBC/Attenborough
Wolfe H. Lewis | 02/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a frequent watcher of nature programs over the last 30 years, I have to say that this is one of the all time greats. Attenborough docs are always solid and there's no shortage of the usual charm, but the filming techniques have really come to the fore on this effort. There are utterly spectacular moments in each of the episodes. Yes, the overview episode is redundant, but there's very little else to be critical about. One for the ages, this."
Brian A. Nichols | St. Louis, MO | 04/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ive watched the BBC Attenborough version and the first few episodes of the Discovery Oprah versions and as stated previously, the Attenborough narration is vastly superior. You can feel his passion for the subjects and years of experience expressed in every line. Discovery Channel must be commended for broadcasting the series to a broader audience but the alterations take away from experience. I highly recommend getting this BBC version. With the breathtaking camera work, narration, and score, this is a perfect companion to the Planet Earth series and should be part of any Blu-Ray collection."