Wolves of the Sea (1993)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Mysteries Of The Ocean Wanderers
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 57:49 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring David Attenborough
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.56:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.56:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    I greatly enjoy a good nature documentary and have reviewed quite a few of them. The two contained on this disc certainly fall into that category. The fact that this disc actually contains two documentaries is also a big plus, as many of the discs I have reviewed only contain one 50 minute doco. The second one is presented as an extra feature, so I will cover it later.

    The main feature on this disc, Wolves of the Sea, is a 1993 joint production of the ABC, National Geographic and TBS and features the familiar narration of David Attenborough. The title refers to killer whales and this documentary focuses on these incredible creatures. They are in fact dolphins rather than whales, it would seem. The documentary covers the way they communicate, their sexuality, hunting techniques (which are fascinating and show incredible intelligence) and their love of games and inquisitive natures. The documentary covers killer whale pods living in various parts of the world including British Columbia, Norway, The Croze Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean and Argentina. Also covered are the various creatures that they hunt for food, from salmon and herrings through to sea lions and penguins. The documentary also features quite an amazing twist at the end...

    From a cinematography perspective this is once again an excellent piece of work featuring some quite amazing footage. Parents should note that some footage of killer whales seemingly torturing their food before killing it could be disturbing for younger viewers.

    Definitely recommended for those interested in the natural beauty of whales and other sea creatures.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is quite good but has some issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.56:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is most likely the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Some of the underwater footage was quite cloudy, however this is an issue with the original film not the transfer.

    The colour was excellent throughout.

    There were two noticeable types of artefacts during this video presentation, both quite distracting. During many of the underwater scenes, especially those in British Columbia, there was significant macro-blocking. Examples can be seen at 3:01 and 5:10. Additionally, there was significant edge enhancement throughout, especially around the whales' fins, which not surprisingly appeared quite often.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good but only stereo.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. The quality of the sound was good with the underwater sonar and communication sounds especially standing out.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

    The music used was fine and did its job, without standing out.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included motion, sounds and the ability to select scenes.

Mysteries of the Ocean Wanderers (54:09)

    This is really a second feature presentation also made in 1993 and including some minor crossover with the main feature. It focuses on the Croze islands and their inhabitants. These are very isolated islands in the far south of the Indian Ocean closer to Antarctica than anywhere else. They are cold, windswept and inhospitable but are home to an incredible array of fauna. The title refers to the various inhabitants of the island who also do significant wandering through the southern ocean searching for food. These are the Albatrosses, Penguins and Elephant Seals. The Albatrosses return here every year to nest, always with the same mate. In addition to these, other creatures such as Giant Petrels, Shearwaters, Cormorants and Killer Whales are covered. The documentary also shows the effects which commercial fishing is having on these colonies. Once again this is a fascinating documentary and a fantastic addition to this disc. It is presented in 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced. The video quality is similar to the main feature including some colour bleeding and edge enhancement. Parents should note that this documentary includes a quite violent and bloody elephant seal fight.

Photo Gallery

    18 beautiful stills of Killer Whales.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this documentary being available in other regions, however this edition is coded for all regions.


    Another excellent nature documentary from the ABC natural history unit, featuring Killer Whales.

    The video quality is decent but has some issues.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The disc has a complete extra documentary as an extra plus a photo gallery.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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