has an average rating of 8.4 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 25gb disc
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
– 150 minutes
– BBC (Warner)
Buy it for $18.95 @ Amazon.com
— Review written by: James Segars —
The Series Itself is another beautifully-shot nature-doc from BBC and 2 Entertain — the folks who brought us the groundbreaking and awe-inspiring Planet Earth series. Where Planet Earth is far more epic in its scale/purpose, Galapagos instead focuses intently on the titular islands. Within the opening seconds alone, it’s easy to see why these islands are deserving of their very own series. From the perpetual creation and ultimate destruction of the islands, to the unique forms of life that inhabit the land, Galapagos is a land all its own, and it is nothing short of incredible.
This three-part series does a fantastic job capturing the flora and fauna of the various islands, in addition to educating the viewer with respect to the island’s history. Perhaps of greatest interest is the second episode that chronicles the discoveries of the young Charles Darwin through his explorations of the alien-like territory — ultimately leading him to write his masterwork, “The Origin of Species.”
Galapagos reaches spectacular visual highs and does a very good job of keeping the viewer enthralled throughout the three-part series. If you’re a fan of Planet Earth, this should definitely make its way into your Blu-ray collection, or at the very least, your Netflix queue.
Video Quality on this release is presented in 1080p with a VC-1 encode on a BD-25 in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Much like Planet Earth, Galapagos can have moments of the utmost clarity followed by shots that leave you wanting more. Overall, the presentation is borderline amazing, but it’s far from flawless with bouts of edge enhancement, and a somewhat murky image quality across a number of key shots in the series.
Then again, the majority of the video looks quite fantastic, and it’s easy to get swept up in the visuals and lose track of the actual visual quality. Clocking in at over 150min. on a BD-25, it is possible that some of the visible defects are a result of the compression process, but thankfully it doesn’t hinder the overall viewing experience too much.
At the end of the day, I’d have to say that Galapagos is superbly stunning in a number of ways, but its overall visual quality falls short of the near-perfection of Planet Earth, thus earning this a solid “4-Star Rating” for the video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is in only Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. At first, I was very disheartened to discover that the program was only presented in stereo — I thought something might have been wrong with my receiver. However, given the subject material and the programs use of the soundscape, there’s little need for real sense of envelopment. Also, any modern receiver can matrix the two-channel source into a 5.1/6.1/7.1 mix for your listening pleasure if you so desire, so it’s not necessarily the end of the world that we’re given stereo source material. And, if you’ve yet to upgrade to an audio receiver — can’t imagine why not, you’re missing a lot — then your TV set will surely suffice.
Originally I was tempted to mark this presentation down for its lack of multi-channel audio, but the DD 2.0 presentation performs perfectly well, if only slightly underwhelming.
For Narration, Actress Tilda Swinton‘s voice comes through perfectly clear, the intriguing score resounds effectively and the soundscapes throughout are rendered quite well.
It’s not great, but it’s definitely not bad. Assuming you’re not a multi-channel fiend, you’ll be satisfied with the presentation found here, but with that said, there’s certainly room for improvement, should they decide to re-release it in the future.
Bonus Materials are non-existent!
Overall I found Galapagos to be a trip well worth taking, and if you’re like me and you’re looking for some great video to curb your Planet Earth fix, Galapagos will certainly help keep your craving at bay.
Without question, Planet Earth remains the king of the Nature-docs, but Galapagos makes for a more-than-adequate supplement to the genre, as it manages to shed light on one of the lesser known wonders of this world, much like its highly acclaimed superior.