Kingdom of Plants (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 2-Jan-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Making Of-(49.16)
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 150:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Martin Williams
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Elik Alvarez
Joel Douek
Freddy Sheinfeld


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† With his dodgy knees and advancing age it is unlikely that we will ever see that doyen of the jungle/plain/arctic David Attenborough donning the travel gear and trudging through a muddy creek bed in order to get a close up look at some endangered species. A pity, as he has been our constant nature companion for over 50 years. Two options remain - just doing voice over work and perhaps staying close to home.

†††† With this latest series Kingdom of Plants David does the latter, only making it as far as London's Kew Gardens. Fortunately this feature on plants is a perfect match for the largest botanical park on earth and David is quite at home taking us through the story of plant life on this planet from the dawn of time and the marvellous ways in which plants adapt to survive.

†††† Kingdom of Plants is a three part BBC series, all of which is set at Kew Gardens. The episodes are approximately 50 minutes in length which is just long enough to get to the heart of the subject without the episodes out staying their welcome. The episodes are:

†††† The first is something of a giant history lesson on the emergence of plants, the second looks at plant reproductive techniques and the third about the lengths plants have gone to to adapt and survive. Each is an entertaining episode. The fact that the series is shot in one location has enabled the crew to concentrate on achieving and it achieves the aim of presenting some truly stunning imagery. There are a couple of caveats. Those who like their nature documentaries to come with at least one segment of an animal hunting down and munching on another may find the focus on plants a little tame. It is not his first time though, as Attenborough previously did the extended series Life of Plants. Secondly the series was made and promoted on the basis of its stunning 3D photography but this Blu-ray is 2D only. No doubt the film would have gained something from 3D but it is still eminently watchable without the extra dimension.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† As said Kingdom of Plants originally bore the addenda 3D and was the first Attenborough 3D series. According to the publicity materials some of the 3D techniques were pioneered for this series.

†††† Without the added dimension what we have is another brilliantly shot, stunningly presented series from the BBC.

†††† The Blu-ray is in full 1080P and is presented in the original widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

†††† Every film technique under the sun is used here, from high-speed photography, time lapse, micro and macro. It all looks incredibly sharp and detailed. Not surprisingly, given the fact it was all filmed in a botanical garden, there are none of the "awesome majesty of nature" shots from other Attenborough series.

†††† The scenes of David walking and talking are also crisp and clean. The colours are bright and stable, particularly the all-important greens!

††††There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
Colour
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Film Artefacts
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Audio

†††† Kingdom of Plants has an English DTS- HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

†††† The film doesn't really require a surround sound track, largely consisting of voice-over, music and the occasional sound effects brought in to give emphasis to the plant behaviour.

†††† Everything sounds good, from the usual bubbly narration from Attenborough to the "sounds" of the plants.

†††† The score is by Joel Douek and Freddy Sheinfeld, who injects a blend of orchestral sounds into the mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

†††† There is only one extra, but it is a lengthy one.

The Making of Kingdom of Plants

†††† This feature is as long as an individual episode. It covers all the technical challenges presented by the series. The problems were numerous. From filming bats in an environment where it would be serious business if the "actor bat" was allowed to enter the park, getting the narration done in between planes on their Heathrow flight path, lugging heavy 3D cameras up high walkways, and working with time lapse photography. The amount of time devoted to 3D made me wish I was watching it in that format! A fascinating feature.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††The Region B UK Blu-ray is in 3D. For non-3D people like me the 2D is the only real option but for those with fancy 3D set-ups a purchase from the UK is in order!

Summary

†††† Kew Gardens may not be the African savannah and rare orchids may lack the grunt factor of grizzly bears but there is no denying David Attenboroughís ability to make the natural world intriguing and fresh.

†††† A great looking series (wonder how it would look in 3D) is presented impeccably on Blu-ray with an interesting making of feature.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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