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<p>Blue Planet Seas of Life: Tidal Seas / Coasts (DVD)</p><p>For most of the year, both poles are dark and bitterly cold. But there is still life at both ends of the Earth. Antarctica is a continent, a land mass in its own right surrounded by ice, where stubborn emperor penguins winter in temperatures below -50 degrees Celsius. The Arctic is a frozen sea surrounded by land, and here the polar bear rules - no seal, whale or bird is safe.</p>
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Oceanic marvels abound in these two episodes of The Blue Planet, and we're given a front-row seat thanks to the series' peerless camerawork and sound effects, and George Fenton's glorious orchestral score. "Tidal Seas" explores the myriad life forms that thrive when lunar gravity pulls the oceans offshore. These include surfing snails, diving osprey, breeding stingray, and bottlenose dolphin digging for razorfish in the shallow tidal flats. In a delightful time-lapse sequence, sand bubbler crabs clean an entire beach for food, leaving millions of filtered sand balls in their paths. "Coasts" is easily the most brutal episode, but no less mesmerizing. Here we witness the battles of elephant seals, the tenacity of Galapagos iguanas, and the mating rituals of the walrus. Surely the most unexpected, and horrifying, sequence is that of the orca, earning its "killer whale" nickname by capturing, killing, and tail-tossing a seal pup--a performance so mysteriously primal that even the most seasoned marine biologist will be utterly amazed. --Jeff ShannonAdditional Features:
In addition to the fine "making of" featurettes that accompany all Blue Planet episodes, this DVD includes "Deep Trouble," an hour-long supplement to the series, in which noted marine biologists describe and illustrate the many ways in which the fishing industries are destroying the delicate balance of marine wildlife. From the indiscriminate use of destructive netting to the little-known and illegal use of cyanide to stun and capture exotic reef fish for the aquarium trade, this documentary is thorough, provocative, and passionately intelligent in its plea for industrial reforms and preventive legislation, and an altogether fitting accompaniment to the astonishing beauty on display in the Blue Planet series. --Jeff Shannon
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