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|Home: BigScreen Journal - DVD Review: Echo and Other Elephants|
Echo and Other Elephants
List Price: $29.98 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
This collection of documentaries from the BBC centers around a herd of elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park, led by the matriarch Echo. Narrated by David Attenborough, we get to see the herd as they migrate, feed, and gather together for mating and socializing. A fourth documentary is narrated by Russell Boulter. Included on the second disc is a series of documentaries narrated by Saba Douglas-Hamilton that presents another scientist's efforts to study the magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
Given the wide range of years covered by this 2-disc set, the video is understandably variable. The older episodes are not as good-looking as the later episodes, but the quality is still better than what one would see if you were watching these shows on cable or satellite. Kudos to the BBC for keeping the aspect ratios of the 1.33 shows intact, and for presenting the widescreen shows accordingly.
While one could knock these shows for not displaying the awesome beauty of the Planet Earth series (the series by which all HD and nature shows will be judged), such judgement would be unfair for shows that may not have had HD or film sources to work with. For a standard definition DVD release, the picture is quite good.
The sound quality is standard NTSC TV fare. What we get here is Dolby Digital 2.0 that is clear with dialogue that is easy to understand. While there isn't much for the soundtrack to do, and there was not much (Pro-Logic decoded) surround activity, if at all, the low rumbles of the elephants that are part of their communication certainly come through any decently equipped sound system!
There are no extras included on either disc. It is nice that each episode is selectable on the DVD menu, with multiple chapter stops for each episode. Nicely done.
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