Blue Planet: Seas of Life, Vol. 1 & 2

Extraordinary footage and eloquent narration by David Attenborough highlight the BBC’s remarkable wildlife series, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life.

(Widescreen) [2 Discs DVD]. “Ocean World” begins with astonishing views of a gigantic blue whale–the elusive Holy Grail of undersea photography–and the marvels continue to demonstrate the power, diversity, and profound ecological influence of Earth’s oceans. From the surface feedings of dolphins to the pitch-black environs of deep-sea predators rarely glimpsed by humans, the oceans are seen as living entities teeming with nutrients and rejuvenating currents essential to all life on Earth.

This marvelous portrait of the food chain–from plankton to sharks to killer whales–continues in “Frozen Seas,” examining whales, walruses, penguins, and other creatures under the extreme conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The next two episodes are even better. “Open Ocean” travels thousands of miles into the vast “liquid desert,” where currents determine how the ocean’s diverse life forms will assume their places in the food chain. From manta rays to spinner dolphins, hammerhead sharks, and a plethora of smaller creatures fending for their lives, the patient cameramen capture a movable feast with intense proximity, while narrator David Attenborough brings these forces of nature into eloquent perspective.

More amazing, “The Deep” descends with a state-of-the-art submersible to the ocean’s abyssal plain and beyond, filming such bizarre creatures as the fangtooth, bioluminescent jellies, transparent squid, the giant-mouthed gulper eel, and the never-before-seen hairy angler fish. One of the finest wildlife programs you’re ever likely to see, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life provides the privilege of visiting a truly alien world teeming with the rarest wonders of nature.

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