The Blue Planet — Seas of Life: Special Edition

Not as hi-tech as 2006’s Planet Earth or amusing as 2002’s The Life of Mammals, the sheer magnitude of exploring what covers 70 percent of our globe gives The Blue Planet its catch — well, that and its narrator, of course. Hosted by the grandfather of narrators, and possibly the most brilliant man on Earth, Sir David Attenborough, this eight-part 2001 nature doc is known for being "the first ever comprehensive series on the natural history of the world’s oceans.” As with any BBC/Attenborough production, the access the film crew are allowed is nothing short of astonishing. As he points out in various segments, the cameramen quite often capture creatures or occurrences on film that have never even witnessed before. Such is the case for "The Deep,” which utilises a reinforced acrylic sphere that can dive 900 metres into the underwater blackness. There they find transparent twilight monsters: ugly creatures like the Fang Tooth, a hideous fish that cannot close its mouth because it has the largest teeth in the ocean relative to body size; or the Gulper Eel, with its massive pelican-like mouth and ridiculously long, snaky body. On the opposite end are the Deep Sea Jellyfish, which looks like a carnie ride, with its flashing fireworks lights, and those fish that shine their headlights to find food. How we know anything about these creatures is almost as mind-blowing as the fact that these things even exist but like always, Attenborough is poised and convincing in his speech. With every nature doc, the behaviour is the fascinating bit — cameras get close up into a blue whale’s face and hang out with the playful sea otters, granting a sense of appreciation for the viewer. But nature is a cruel bitch and The Blue Planet is not short on tragedies. Newborn hatchling turtles become beak-sized meals for various birds, Killer Whales drown and eat an exhausted baby Grey whale, and then there’s the sad life of the scarred Beluga Whales, who spend their days coming up for air only to be jumped by hungry Polar bears. This is bleak shit, and that’s without even mentioning how a hooded seal feeds off its mother for four days before it’s left to fend for itself. Enthralling, informing and like the other 73 "Life” programs the Beeb has developed with Attenborough, a good tool for educating people of any age and an absolute must-have. Plus: featurettes. (BBC/Warner)