Monday, April 16, 2007

Sigourney Weaver vs. David Attenborough

Sam got us watching Planet Earth on Discovery HD, and it is visually amazing. The crew went to incredible lengths to get shots that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes shocking. Watching acres of cranes fly over wetlands is inspiring; watching jungle chimps eating one of their slain enemies is . . . well, you know. Same for repeated slo-mo shots of crocs biting wildebeests.

But the focus of the show is very much on the visuals. Real science content is thin, and unfortunately Sigourney Weaver's narration is nearly affectless. I was hoping for at least a snicker from her during the segment where an invasive fungus infects an ant, and then pops out of its head "like some alien from outer space," but she played it deadpan.

I miss David Attenborough. When our kids were very small, we taped his Living Planet on VHS, and the recording quality was horrible, since we didn't have cable and our reception was rotten. Still, we watched it a few times before the tapes deteriorated, because Attenborough had the gift of being able to communicate the excitement of science and the abstract beauty of biological systems without actually filming anything very spectacular.

6 comments:

Tom Anthony said...

Maybe you could buy the British version of the DVDs? They are narrated by Sir David Attenborough. :)

Amazon.co.uk will mail to the US:

Planet Earth

Complete Earth (Planet Earth + Blue Planet)

Hope that helps. :)

David Wharton said...

Thanks for the tip!

We rented some Living Planet DVDs this week to get our Attenborough fix, and were delighted to watch him don a silver motorcycle helmet & yellow goggles to peek into an owl's nest ("Northern Forests" episode).

I love that man.

Anonymous said...

I just happened this post. You probably already know this because this post is old but the DVD that they sell in the USA is the version with David Attenborough. I believe that Sigorney Weaver is only on the Discovery Channel.

David Wharton said...

Yes, thanks. In fact, I just bought the Attenborough version!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps people know this already but still for the reader's who don't: This DVD is available in two versions - Discovery Channel and BBC. Discovery version has Sigourney Weaver's narration while BBC's has Sir David Attenborough's.

Jared said...

Save yourself some money. Us Canadians were fortunate to have the real version both on TV and on DVD. No overseas shipping costs required.