BBC Earth is well-known for its stunning footage of some of Earth’s most beautiful and intriguing places. Divided into 11 episodes, Planet Earth II shows us how life exists in many of our planet’s most extreme environments. Narrated by David Attenborough, the viewer is transported up close and personal with animals, plants, and remote lands, some of which have never been filmed.
2016, Ultra HD w/HDR, Not Rated, 6 Hrs (11 episodes)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Narrated by: David Attenborough
This review may seem a bit late given that Planet Earth II was released on Blu-ray over a year ago. But I picked up the Ultra HD version a while back to use as demo material for a projector review and have been mesmerized ever since. In days of old, I journeyed to trade shows to see the latest displays and projectors. All of them showed stunning footage shot with Ultra HD cameras in extreme slow motion. I learned that this footage was rented at a cost of hundreds of dollars a minute. I suspect with the release of Planet Earth II in 4K, there will be no need to spend the money. The video on this disc is quite simply the state of the art. It doesn’t get any better. The story told by David Attenborough is equally compelling. Though the three discs total six hours, I watched them in one sitting. This video should be part of any enthusiast’s collection. Even a short demo will be the best thing you can possibly show on your new display.
There is no Hollywood movie that can compete with Planet Earth II’s video quality. Thanks to the latest high-res cameras and some innovative filming techniques, there isn’t a single moment when every object is not in perfect focus. The use of extended color and HDR is also unmatched. Dynamic range is seemingly without limit and the color demands a display that can show all of the DCI-P3 gamut.
Audio is of equally high quality with beautifully performed and recorded live orchestral music and clear dialog from the narrator. There are some effects from the landscape, but they remain in the background. Though it’s not Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, the viewer is completely enveloped by the sound track.
The only bonus feature is a 54-minute documentary that goes in-depth with filming techniques and some of the brutal conditions endured by the film crews. It’s a fascinating look at how the series came to be.