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Blu-ray Reviews

Madagascar - BBC Earth Blu-ray



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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

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Posted July 30 2011 - 01:44 AM

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MADAGASCAR

Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW Distributor: Warner Bros. BBC Packaging/Materials: double disc keepcase Year: 2011 Rating: PG Running Time: 174 minutes THE FEATURE Video 1080i 1.78:1 AUDIO English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo SUBTITLES English SDH The Feature: 4/5 Do you have an interest in the great world around you? Do you want to know more about the world we live in, the one that seems to get smaller and smaller as time goes by? Have you enjoyed the BBC Earth Blu-rays released over the past few years? If having said “yes” to any of the above, I am sure that you will be pleased with BBC Earth’s latest Blu-ray, Madagascar. Narrated by David Attenborough, Madagascar reveals the secrets the isolated island has held for years. Shown are the lives of unique species of animals who have adapted separately from the African mainland, and the contrasting environments east and west of the mountain range that stretches across the length of the entire island. Attenborough returns to this island 50 years after his first visit and documentary of the island, only to explore new and old creatures of sorts, most notably the lemur and its 70 different species. Despite their size, their resemblance to human behaviour, once again, is quite extraordinary. Four one hour episodes are spread over two discs and each are as captivating as the other. Video Quality: 4/5 I have spent some time with a Panasonic TC-P50ST30 of which I calibrated to optimal performance with the necessary and top-tier calibration gear. So knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the display device, I was ready to evaluate Madagascar. The image is similar to other BBC Earth features, with the exception to Life which appeared with greater colour intensity when compared to the rest. The overall image can be characterized as nicely rendered and relatively faithful to the HD captured image, without any artificial sharpening and without a raw HD camera look to it. With the credit of a bit of post production work, the appearance of the lemurs, chameleons, insects, and strange animals stand out within their environments when they are at the centre of Attenborough’s narration. Like many HD video presentations, black levels can be a bit weak at times and bit grainy, which can be seen through the excessive dithering of the Panasonic TC-P50ST30. The brightest white levels often don’t look peaked, showcasing respectable image contrast within the content. The 1080i video does have some limitations with extreme long shots as they tend to look fuzzy when compared to some of the better video productions. This is not likely because of the transfer, but more of the original photography and the lenses chosen for the work. Audio Quality: 3/5 The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack provides adequate envelopment when decoded with Dolby Pro-Logic II. Attenborough’s narration is planted firmly in the centre channel while sounds of the Madagascar jungles, deserts, and rugged terrain surround the listener. Special Features: 2/5 Two interesting features are provided on the second disc, the first of which is most interesting which is about Attenborough’s return to Madagascar since his first documentary filming in the 1950s. Legacy footage is intertwined within this feature, narrated by Attenborough himself, in Attenborough and the Giant Egg. This 1080i feature, clocking in at almost an hour in length, discusses the now extinct bird that left behind the mysterious and giant egg on the island of Madagascar. The second feature is an older BBC feature Lemurs of Madagascar, presented by Charlotte Uhlenbroek, uncovers the behaviours of various ring-tailed clans as they are adapting to live in their ever shrinking environment because of local farming and industry. (480i, 16:9) In the end... Add Madagascar to your growing BBC World collection, as it is as entertaining and informative as the others series, with very little overlap in information. The picture and sound quality are impressive but not reference-level material, and impressive enough to be caught up in the awe of the far away land so few of us have experienced. Mike Osadciw 11.07.30

Michael Osadciw

THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator

Video Contributor

CANADA HiFi Magazine






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