MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The BBC and the Discovery Channel teamed together to examine the fascinating world of the Pacific Ocean. Originally broadcast as “South Pacific” in the UK and repackaged as “Wild Pacific” in the U.S., this nature series examines the many islands of the Pacific Ocean and how the ecology of the largest body of water in the world affects them and the rest of the planet. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, this series looks at both the natural wonders and the anthropological side of the wild Pacific.
WHAT I LIKED
I have become a huge fan of the BBC nature series. Back when I was a child, long before the Discovery Channel evolved legs and stumbled out of the ocean that was basic cable, my only option for nature series was National Geographic and whatever PBS chose to put on television. However, with the advent of digital and high-definition cameras, the old-school nature series has evolved into something amazing.
“Wild Pacific” has a more narrow focus than other re-cuts and elements of the BBC Earth series. It doesn’t take place on such a grand scale as “Nature’s Most Amazing Events,” but it is still a very well constructed series.
My favorite parts of these series are the marine photography and the biological elements. While “Wild Pacific” does step out of the water at times to examine the cultures living on the many, varied islands of the South Pacific, it continues to make things interesting. We’ve seen much of these stories before in other series, but packaged together, we get a glimpse of what it would be like to live your life on a small island.
Having seen so many of these documentary series in my life, it’s not uncommon to retread familiar ground. However, “Wild Pacific” did teach me a thing or two, and it got me Googling on the computer to learn more about such disparate topics as the origins of bungee jumping and the largest hermit crabs that walk the earth.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Now that my son is rounding out the last part of his first decade, he has gotten interested in more than just cartoons on television, and I have enjoyed watching some of these BBC nature shows with him. He loves the parts with the animals, as I do, but we both did get a little turned off by the anthropological aspects to the shows. These aren’t necessarily bad elements to the series, but they just aren’t as interesting to me as the predators in the ocean or the wild and crazy creatures found on the isolated islands.
Watching all six episodes of the series on this DVD set, you’ll find that the first disc includes three “Wild Pacific” titles while the second disc retains the BBC’s “South Pacific” titles. It’s not a huge difference for one word, but it does have a few scenes that repeat itself. If watched over the period of a few weeks, it’s virtually unnoticeable, but it becomes a little repetitious if you sit through a six-hour marathon of the entire release.
Each episode comes with a ten-minute video diary, highlighting the behind the scenes of a key element of the show.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the BBC Earth series.