planet earth II

 

Jeri Jacquin

On stunning 4K Ultra HD Bluray from BBC America narrated by Sir David Attenborough is a look at our planet and the creatures who inhabit it with an amazing look at PLANET EARTH II.

Beginning with the love life of the three-toed Sloth who hears the call of a female and moves quick – for a sloth – towards the sound of her call. To get to her something amazing happens that I never knew was possible. Of course I’m not going to tell you what that is because I want your jaw to drop as surprisingly as mine did!

Then off to watch the hunting practices of a komodo dragon who clearly know a thing or two about getting a good meal. Lemurs are teaching their young how to survive and the earth is still pouring out molten rock to expand as ten new islands have formed from the hot rivers.

On these expanded islands are huge colonies of iguana who help other species survive as well like the bug eating lizards and the body cleaning and colorful crabs! The iguana’s hatchings are born in peril as Racer snakes are their mortal enemy.

There is love in the air as well when a male seabird looks for his lovely flying mate to return so they can once again make a family. A dance of love and affection begin as they spend time together before welcoming a new family member.

Of course the famous red crabs have been having difficult on their march reaching the sea because of the Yellow Crazy Ant have created super colonies in the forest. Making their trek difficult something will have to be done.

The amazing penguins of the Galapagos also live a dangerous life and not just living near a volcano. Yet that doesn’t stop the island from becoming a nursery and parents doing what they must to feed their young. Now the two legged creatures come to the island to watch the penguins and learn that their waddling friends have the scoop on where to camp.

From the island to the highest peaks, cameras visit the Arabian Peninsula in all its grandeur to places difficult to reach. That is unless you happen to be an Ibex! Accomplished mountain climbers, it is stunning how agile they are in places that would give any human the chills.

A beautiful eagle can spot prey from two miles away but shares the sky’s with other predators who want a meal as well. Swift wings and a sharp eye aren’t about to let a meal get away and sharing isn’t on the menu.

Grizzly bears of the Rockies make their way out of their winter dens with cubs in tow. The first order of business is to find food after being asleep for many months and spring is swiftly arriving. The beautiful bobcats are also looking for a meal but the winter isn’t making it easy.

At night the mountains become bitterly cold but that doesn’t stop beauty from being created by the ice. Everything else closes up to protect itself from the night waiting for the warmth of the morning sun and it is spectacular.

In the Andes Mountains there are stunning animals surrounding its peaks and at 14,000 feet the flamingos wait for the ice to thaw from their legs. Later in the day there are dangers for human beings but not so much for the flamingos who are hilarious!

The elusive and stunningly beautiful snow leopards are finally being captured on film as their numbers dwindle because there isn’t enough food to sustain them all. The numbers being so small means also that there is a fight for a female which is life threatening and heart breaking.

Capturing more of what the mountain holds, climbers take up their shoots to paraglide down. Waiting for the weather to clear, cameramen do their best to set up cameras before the animals begin their day. Prepare to have your heart stop a few times!

From the mountains to the jungle, the cameras capture the world of survival in the animal kingdom. The Spider Monkey is graceful and have no problem climbing from the highest tree tops. Draco lizards are fast, colorful and an ant eater who will never be without a meal living in trees that produce amazing plant life.

In Ecuador, there are 100 species of hummingbirds and I adore hummingbirds! There beautiful colors and amazing tail feathers are stunning to watch. The most impressive of these tiny winged birds is the Sword-billed hummingbird.

Surprisingly, PLANET II shows viewers the Brazil Araguaia dolphins who live in the forest waters. Also living in the vegetations are so many species of animals like giant otters and Caimen crocs that can grow to 10 feet long. It is the jaguar who lives in stealth not willing to share her territory with anyone – not even another jaguar!

There are animals who use camouflage to survive the jungles as in the Geckos of Costa Rica or the tiny Glass frog who is, in my mind, absolutely adorable! Almost totally see through, it is the way he survives being a meal so go home to his large family.

When animals sleep, the night becomes a time for plants to bring out a luminescent life of their own. Using the insects crawling, they find a way to travel to different parts of the jungle to grow.

The Red Bird of Paradise shakes a beautiful tale feather in order to find the love of his life. Showing all his fancy feathery finery has to be done just right if he wants to win a females fluttery heart.

The Rainforest of Madagascar is filled with amazing creatures but the jungle is not as large as it once was. As Attenborough says, “it is filled with wonder and magic and must surely be worth protecting”.

In deserts, Attenborough takes us to Africa to show that even in the dry sands there are creatures who know how to survive like a pride of lions. The deserts of Peru are one of the most changeable on the planet that can go from barren nothingness to green and lush with a little bit of water bringing out the dreaded locust.

In the United States, it is Nevada that is seeing the hottest time of the year as the Mustang horses visit a small watering hole. Controlling this watering hold brings a power structure where a newcomer isn’t welcome but the standoff could enhance one or the others herd.

Israel has its own creatures in the desert with a bat that hunts on the ground and not from the air. What it hunts is equally as seriously scary! The battle between the bat and its prey is all survival.

Northern India has a vast array of amazing animals in the world and is one of the grasslands of the planet. As the spring bring rains to the largest grasslands on the planet and newborn creatures are hiding. The waterholes fill and the animals come which also means hunter and prey come close to one another.

The biggest water buffalo on the meadowlands is easy to see but the smallest mouse clinging to the grass blades can only be spotted from the wings above. One bird making its way through the grassland is the ostrich who is the heaviest bird on the plains, unlike the tiny birds who hitch rides on African elephants.

In South America, the grassland is ruled by the grass cutter ants who can’t eat the greenery but what its use for is nothing short of astounding. But it is the resilience of these grasslands all over the planet that give animals and insects life.

It is in North America that the bison who can survive cold with their thick fur but without the food that lie under the grass they could starve. Unlike the fox who jumps his way into a meal – headfirst!

The biggest challenge facing animals living in cities is that of human beings. In India, langer monkeys live openly in the urban city and are treated so well they are thriving. The Peregrine falcon lives majestically in New York City with a vast choice of high perches in which to nest.

The city can also lay claim to having the most falcons on the planet. It is the Starlings in Europe and their beauty in the air that has been seen worldwide as they create, literally, a moving sky. In Toronto it would be nice to have wings, especially if you are a raccoon living in a chimney needing to move with babies. But there are some animals that can not adjust and it causes their survival rate to sadly decrease.

BBC Worldwide North America brings such smash hits as Dancing with the Stars, the series The Night Of, Life Below Zero and Ladies of London among other programs. For more information on programming please visit http://www.bbcamerica.com.

BBC Home Entertainment have, for the first time, made natural history television available on 4K Ultra HD Bluray. The Bonus Content includes Planet Earth Dairies with a behind-the-scenes look at the production team and the challenges of capturing footage never seen before at the end of each episode.

Narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough one can not help but listen to his voice filled with humor, a sense of wonder and urgency that brings a richness to this series. The music is provided by Hans Zimmer bringing the scope of powerful emotional that adds a wealth of feeling to the presentation.

This is an intense, amazing, brilliant, wonderful, adorable, informative, cinematically breathtaking Bluray that give us all a look at parts of our world we might never get to see for ourselves. It also raises the questions on what we can do now to ensure that these beautiful creatures both big and small continue to thrive on this planet.

There are so many ‘firsts’ captured by PLANET EARTH II from the footage of the iguanas and racer snakes battle to the glowing fungi to Goshawks collecting water for their winged young far away from the watering holes to a locust swarm devouring everything in its path. That is what makes these episodes so amazing to see!

PLANET EARTH II is a must-see for everyone and what an extraordinary way for family’s to spend quality time learning together. This is also an amazing teaching tool that I hope can be used in classrooms.

In the end – this is a stunning achievement to bring us all the epic creatures that share our world!

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