If you’re like me, you caught Discovery Channel’s Life when it aired in March and April of this year. Much like the tremendous mini-series before it, Planet Earth, this one featured absolutely stunning pictures and stories of plants and animals across the globe. Each episode featured a different group of living things, from reptiles and amphibians to mammals, birds, fish, insects, and more. Oprah Winfrey, talkshow host extraordinaire, narrated this amazing series, lending a perfect voice to the beautiful pictures. The whole series was put together over the course of over four years, and totalled over 3000 days of filming in the field.
Read more of my review after the jump!
There are some amazing stories in the series. Some of my favorites were the amphibians. We learned about a frog that basically made itself rigid and tumbled down the rocks to escape its predators. The teeny tiny little frog bounced and rolled just a like a rock, and it was amazing to see it up close and personal. Another cool thing was the millions of fruit bats all flying across the Congo. In late October every year, ten million of them fly together to Kasanka, in Zambia. They stay for a few weeks, eating the abundant source of mangoes and other fruits. A single bat can consume four pounds of fruit a night. By the end of the two weeks, the bats will consume over a billion pieces of fruit total, 6000 tons a night. The videos of the bats is simply amazing.
One thing I end up watching through my fingers are things like the predators hunting their prey, or animals being killed by other animals. Beautiful pictures, yes, but too hard on my soft heart!
That’s some info on the show itself. Now on to the DVDs. The set comes with 4 DVDs in a beautiful case, which slides into a cover. The case for the DVDs themselves includes a beautiful picture of a clown fish on the back. On the inside, the first two discs clip into the back of the front cover, and the second two discs into the front of the back cover. Between the two sets of discs, they included five gorgeous pictures: flamingos, a lizard of some sort with its tongue stretchd out, capturing its meal, a big bear in the water trying to grab a fish, a huge whale flying out of the water, and a brightly colored tree frog.
Disc one includes Challenges of Life, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Mammals. Disc two is Fish, Birds, and Insects. Disc three is Hunters and Hunted, Creatures of the Deep, and Plants. Disc four is Primates, The Making of Life, and Deleted Scenes. There are great Special Features, as well, including Life on Location – a collection of ten behind the scenes video diaries showing the exhaustive efforts by the filmmaking team, (the one I remember most vividly is when the crew had to watch an animal get bitten and poisened repeatedly until it finally died), and a “Music Only” viewing option. If you would prefer not to listen to the narration, it’s simply a matter of choosing the right audio selection from the menu.
Overall, this is an incredible piece of film that blows me away every time I watch. I will never be able to understand how they got such amazing things filmed as well as they did, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. The beauty of every animal and living thing shines through completely, even without understanding. Possibly even better because I don’t know how they did it.
The DVD and Blu-ray come out on June 1st, and includes never-before-seen “deleted scenes,” as well as an additional 11th episode titled, “The Making of Life.”
Also, be sure and check back later today, as we have a copy of Life on DVD available to giveaway, so we’ll post up details for that later this afternoon!