Thursday, October 25, 2007

Planet Earth: Mountains * * * *

Planet Earth: Mountains (link to DVD at Amazon)
Planet Earth is a famous series of 6 DVDs of nature and animal photography that is renown for its remarkable cinematography and rare footage. Episode 2 is called “Mountains” and it shows footage of animals from a variety of mountain ranges around the world.

We start in Ethiopia where we get see a day in the life of high elevation Ethiopian monkeys. Then off to the Andes where we see some nice night footage of pumas hunting guanacos. This is quite unusual; I’ve never seen this kind of night footage of pumas before. Then we are off to the Canadian Rockies with their striking mountain geology. We see a mama grizzly bear emerge from her den with two cubs. Later we see bears going after moths that hide under the high elevation boulders – a curious foraging behavior. Then in a very abrupt bit of editing, we move to the Alps and their glaciers. Then bam, off to the Karakorum mountains of Pakistan which have the largest glaciers on earth. In this region of earth also lie the largest mountains on earth. We get to see a few Himalayan animals. There is some rare and exciting footage of a snow leopard mother during a chase on the cliffs. We also see Himalayan wolves. Next we are off to the Chinese mountains (not sure which). We get a short clip of pandas which is later followed by cool footage of a mother panda raising her cub. These shots are followed by very short clips of some monkeys and the red panda. We get brief glimpses of some interesting birds and a musk deer with its fangs. We then get a long segment on the migration of Demoiselle cranes over the Himalayas to India. This is quite unusual since it shows how a pair of Golden eagles hunts down a young crane and we see how the birds struggle to cross over Mt. Everest.

Following the main episode, there is the diary about the photographers. These give you an idea of just how hard some of this footage was to get. The diary on this segment shows the photographer who captured the snow leopard on film. This fellow sat for 7 weeks and saw nothing. Finally they moved to a new location in steeper terrain with terrorists and lots of flying rocks.

Overall, this episode again has some very rare footage of rare animals. The cinematography is great, but the format of a multi-location theme, in this case ‘mountains’, leads to disjointed clips and the lack of any unifying story. Nonetheless, it is a must see if you like footage of wild animals as some of this is ‘first ever’ footage.

Planet Earth: Fresh Water
Planet Earth: Mountains

Labels: ,