The BBC’s Planet Earth II has become one of the finest go-to discs when people want to show off their 4K Ultra HD setups and watch jaws drop. So, how does its sister program, Blue Planet II fare on the format? Does it sink, or swim?
The story: The original Blue Planet was released back in 2001. You might think that things at sea would stay pretty much the same, but actually much has changed in the interim – as has the technology to capture its many and varied goings-on. David Attenborough and his team have an amazing ability to make nature documentaries riveting viewing, in a field where so many are drier than the deserts they often present us with. In Blue Planet II, as in his other docos, Attenborough gently educates us on the incredible interconnectedness of things – the oceans are connected to the weather, which is connected to various species’ behaviour, etc. As such, it isn’t just all about the joy of all the fishes in the deep blue sea, as we discover more about birds, mammals and more and their relationships with our oceans, as well as the almost alien-like lifeforms that reside at the deepest depths of our seas. This seven-episode, three disc set is truly a must for anybody with even a passing interest in how nature works. It’s even able to keep kids captivated…
“Think of it as a live action version of Octonauts.”
The 4K disc: Blue Planet II has a lot to live up to, with the aforementioned Planet Earth II being an absolute stunner. Great news is that this release more than holds its own. The true 4K vision is often astonishing in its clarity, as it appears that the TV has turned into some sort of very flat aquarium. The only exceptions are occasional shots taken from specialised cameras designed to pick up heat signatures and such, which are captivating in their own right. The HDR-enhancement adds volumes to the experience, with some of the brilliant colours of nature truly blooming under its power. Apologies for gushing adjective overload, but the technical prowess on display here is awe-inspiring – how do they get those cameras where they do?! Meanwhile, sound comes via a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While this may disappoint some, it still manages to be pleasantly immersive (we meant that, sorry), with the occasional startling back channel noise to make sure that you’re concentrating, and pleasing bass oomph when called for.
Release date: April 4, 2018
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: David Attenborough, Earth
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.