If you’re looking for an educational video that is not only captivating but informative as well, you owe it to yourself and your family to check out Frozen Planet ($39.98) – currently available on DVD.
A BBC/Discovery Channel co-production four years in the making, Frozen Planet is ambitious and epic in scale and provides the ultimate portrait of our earth’s Polar Regions, capturing the power of natural elements and the fragile, jaw-dropping beauty of scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. This landmark high definition series brings to the screen the frozen wilderness of the polar region for what could be the last time before they change forever.
courtesy of BBC
We received Frozen Planet to review and we found that we were glued to the television from the very beginning. The breathtaking images, special effects, and natural environmental beauty are things that I know I’ll never see in person in my lifetime but it’s okay. Frozen Planet brings these images into my home . . . and in HD fashion.
We chose a night to view Frozen Planet . . .
Made sure we were stocked with snacks . . .
And snuggled in.
DISC 1 – The Ends of the Earth, Spring, Summer
It begins at the North Pole located in the Arctic Ocean where there is only one sunrise and one sunset per year. In between that, there is approximately 6 months of harsh coldness known as the Polar Winter. During the Polar Spring, the sun starts to rise and the wildlife come out to breed. We see a male polar bear looking for a mate then fending off other competitors. It’s pretty amazing that they’re actually able to find each other in what seems to be such a vast land mass. Polar Summer is when the frozen ocean starts to melt and the sea birds show up in mass. So do the humpback whales as they feed off the trill and herring. Then Polar Autumn arrives and the sun starts to set again and the water begins to freeze over. Now the creatures depart to seek shelter.
What I found to be interesting is the way the inland starts to melt and create lakes which eventually overflow and make their way through the land of ice. These rivers carve paths until it finally loosens a giant plane of ice which then separates from the land and becomes a glacier. The glacier makes it way to the ocean it where it eventually collapse and creates an iceberg.
However, my favorite part was the segment on snowflakes. I had no idea that snowflakes are crystals that are formed around a single particle of dust. They all have a 6 part symmetry yet no two snowflakes are alike.
We then head to the Tundra where we see a pack of wolves on the hunt. They come across a herd of bison and the fight begins. This part was a little hard for the kids to watch since they’re such animal lovers. However, I took this opportunity to explain to them about the circle of life and that all animals have to eat to survive. Still, it was a little traumatic to see a single young bison being attacked.
Next is Antarctica which is surrounded by a sea of ice. Here we see a sea lion trying to catch a penguin and killer whales dancing in the ocean. Once the ocean starts to melt they show how a herd of killer whales plot to catch a seal trapped on a floating piece of ice. They use their tails to create waves in the ocean which in turn knocks the seal off his perch. Once the seal is in the ocean, the whales create strong underwater currents to tire out the seal until they’re able to catch it. It was pretty amazing to see them all work together.
We also go under the sea of ice where we find amazing lifeforms like giant jellyfishes, spiders with legs that measure half a meter, and bug-looking creatures that are the size of a dinner plate.
DISC 2 – Autumn, Winter, The Last Frontier
This DVD begins with Autumn in the Arctic with an unusual sight . . . polar bears rolling and lying in a meadow of grass. I didn’t even know they could survive without snow.
Belugas (white whales) are drawn to the Canadian Arctic where they swim into shallow waters and scrub their bodies against the rocks and pebbles to get rid of loose and dead skin. It was so cool to see hundreds of white whales in the clear water just kind of rolling around.
They also show baby birds learning how to fly. It was actually kind of funny to see the baby tumble head-over-heels when it hit the ground . . . that is, until the fox at him.
There’s also a hilarious segment on 2 penguins trying to make their nests. While one penguin goes off to find rocks the other one keeps going to the first one’s nest and taking hers. When the second one comes back you can see her looking around for the missing rock. You can almost hear her saying, “WTH?” I couldn’t stop laughing!
As Winter approaches, the penguins know that they have to raise their chicks who currently do not have water-proof fur. The sad thing is that for those penguins who have multiple chicks they usually find that only one will end up surviving. And as the edge of the sea ice advances up to 2 miles a day, the penguins know that the great white wilderness is coming.
DISC 3 – On Thin Ice, Bonus Features
The Arctic and Antarctic are changing and it’s going to effect the entire planet. Studies show that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of Earth. Since 1980, there’s been a 30% drop in the area covered by ice. This effects the way that animals hunt and the availability of their food supply. The melting ice also affect the people who live in the surrounding areas and need to travel on the ice every day. Cracks in the ice can prevent them from crossing over the frozen sea.
There are also some great special features included:
- Science at the Ends of the Earth – An examination of the remarkable scientific work being performed at the South Pole
- Freeze Frame – A series of 6 10-minute “making of” featurettes, one for each episode. This is a cool way to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the video was made. Seeing the video crews at work was just as interesting as the video itself.
- Production Video Diaries – A set of 47 video shorts made by the Frozen Planet producers, directors, camera crew and more giving personal insights into this remarkable series. It was eye-opening to see things from their point of view.
- Frozen Planet: The Epic Journey – The best moments from this remarkable series compiled into one 60-minute highlights special. This is especially good for classroom who do not have the time to watch the entire DVD set.
Throughout the video we were in just awe of what we saw. The way everything was filmed was just so amazing and so real that you almost feel like you’re right there. The scenes are something we’ll never see in real life and it’s so wonderful to be able to experience the majestic beauty of the polar regions for ourselves. I mean, you can read about it in books and look at sharp images but video is the way to go if you want the full effect. And with the narration of David Attenborough, you’ll get never get lost in what’s happening on the screen.
There’s also a behind-the-scenes segment where they show you how some of the video clips were filmed. What really impressed me was the extra care the film crew took to preserve the nature around them. You can tell that they have the ultimate respect for nature and the environment around them.
Frozen Planet is an amazing educational video for kids. In fact, Kacie said they’ve already watched Planet Earth (another BBC Home Entertainment release) in school. She’s going to be taking this DVD to show to her class and I know the students will get such a great view of the frozen world around them and the importance of taking care of our environment.
This post was written for BBC Home Entertainment who provided the complimentary copy as well as some Frozen Planet swag and a gift card in exchange for my honest review.
Owner of An Island Life. A flight attendant and mother to 3 beautiful girls. . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.