Which David Attenborough BBC film is best?
April 8, 2011 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Which is better? LIFE or PLANET EARTH by David Attenborough?

I tried to look on Amazon to answer this but there is so much info there I am overwhelmed. Which is better in your opinion and why?

Thank you.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have to choose? Yikes!

I would say Planet Earth. In HD it's absolutely breathtaking.
posted by sanka at 5:30 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Definitely Planet Earth. Must see Blu-ray.
posted by kenliu at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2011


I would say Planet Earth as well, but only because I saw it first and got pissy when they reused a few segments in Life. Both are excellent! Just make sure you get the Attenborough versions (no offense Oprah!).
posted by yellowbinder at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2011


Planet Earth. It's probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen on Blu-Ray.
posted by jenny76 at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2011


Lots of discussion about the relative merits here.

A fair number of people think that Planet Earth has one too many slow-motion shots of death.
Personally, I found Life more approachable, in that the focus seemed more on the animals themselves, rather than the (admittedly) breath-taking shots featured in Planet Earth.
posted by madajb at 5:39 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're both great, but Planet Earth for sure.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:43 PM on April 8, 2011


Oh, I forgot to mention why I'm asking the question.

I have a seven year old that fell in love with the BBC DVD, Walking with Dinosaurs. She has learned a zillion facts about dinosaurs and so I thought maybe I'd get another DVD from the BBC. Plus, I'm sure I'd like it too.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 6:02 PM on April 8, 2011


Planet Earth!
posted by coppermoss at 6:10 PM on April 8, 2011


I'm surprised that all the answers so far are for Planet Earth. What I really liked about Life were the vignettes at the end that featured stories about how they got the shot, basically mini 'making of' films. But I wouldn't sweat it because I'm sure you'll end up getting both, since they're both equally worthwhile in my opinion.
posted by danny the boy at 6:11 PM on April 8, 2011


My son is 6 and was interested in both Planet Earth and Life. She might like Life a bit better, simply because focuses on animal groups rather than separate biomes/habitats as in Planet Earth.
posted by jenny76 at 6:12 PM on April 8, 2011


What I really liked about Life were the vignettes at the end that featured stories about how they got the shot, basically mini 'making of' films.

Planet Earth also had these vignettes; do you mean that the ones in Life are better?
posted by jabberjaw at 6:18 PM on April 8, 2011


It's a toss-up. If you like one, you'll like the other. They're both approximately the same in terms of gorgeous and innovative photography and interesting stories/facts.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:31 PM on April 8, 2011


Just to be a pendant, LIFE has nothing to do with David Attenborough, except for narration. He is credited as a writer on few segments of Planet Earth. If he's narrating, it's only to give the thing some gravitas. I make this point only because the documentaries by him are much more information rich than Planet Earth or Life, and if you have a budding naturalist on your hands there, you might want to start with the good stuff, rather than just pretty pictures.

That said, Planet Earth is basically a refilming of Living Planet, which is sheer awesome documentary for documentary's sake. Not nature porn like the others. It's from 1984, so it's much more about the informational content than the cinematography.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:35 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I also recommend "The Life of Birds", and "The Life of Mammals"; wonderful and very well done. David is my favorite host; he seems so happy to be there and his awe and joy at the animals is infectious.
posted by The otter lady at 6:37 PM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does the LIFE show have the primates banging on a nut with a tool. Just wondering if that is in LIFE and PLANET EARTH or just PLANET EARTH.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2011


OK, sorry to be so uninformed, but are you guys saying that the DVD "Life of Mammals" is also shown in the "LIFE" DVD?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


One more for Planet Earth. Although Life was great too.

An aside -- the latest greatest BBC series, Planet Human, has its US premiere this Sunday evening on Discovery HD.
posted by Perplexity at 7:32 PM on April 8, 2011


Planet Earth, definitely. It's amazing.
posted by I_love_the_rain at 7:59 PM on April 8, 2011


I'm sorry. All of the ones in HD. There is no 'which one'.

HOWEVER. Human planet was probably the most eye opening and impressive to watch because it deals with humans. I had zero idea people still lived like that. I've pretty much been telling everyone to watch it.

You MUST watch them in high definition. Don't bother otherwise.
posted by darkgroove at 8:15 PM on April 8, 2011


Start with Planet Earth. Then get Blue Planet. After that, the LIFE series. There's Life (2009), but then there are also a bunch of individual films (beginning in 1993): The Life of Mammals, Life in Cold Blood, Life in the Undergrowth, Life in the Freezer, & c. All are SUPERLATIVE -- some of the best television I've ever seen, ever -- and will be wonderful sick-day or rainy day viewing for your little girl. And for you. They are so, so good.

The older films are probably not available in HD. I am sure HD makes the new ones even more spectacular, but the older films are not to be missed.
posted by Spinneret at 9:12 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Planet Earth is more panoramic and breathtaking. Life reuses some of the footage and feels cheaper, but it's full of awesome critters (including the nut-bashing monkeys). Possible parental-guidance warnings: Planet Earth has more death, but Life has more critter sex.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:38 PM on April 8, 2011


I loved Planet Earth. The primate territory section is horrifying, including cannibalism bits.
posted by effluvia at 11:34 PM on April 8, 2011


Planet Earth is brilliant, and my daughter loves it. It's probably the only DVD I'll re-buy as a Blu-Ray.

That said, there are a few sequences - like the heart wrenching polar bear that runs out of prey - that are worth checking to see if you want to run through them.
posted by rodgerd at 11:37 PM on April 8, 2011


jabberjaw: "Planet Earth also had these vignettes; do you mean that the ones in Life are better?"

Hm. I just popped in my Planet Earth disc and mine don't have the making-of featurettes. Maybe it's the version I purchased? These are the BBC blu-rays with David Attenborough narrating, and not the Discovery channel version. Maybe they released an Attenborough version later on with extra features? My discs are pretty bare, no extras at all.
posted by danny the boy at 12:43 AM on April 9, 2011


My daughter (age 5) prefers the Life of ... series. I like Planet Earth better. But we each happily watch both.
posted by stinker at 7:59 AM on April 9, 2011


Yes, Life is a separate thing from the Life of... series. The latter is definitely superior IMO. Life felt like Planet Earth Lite, or Planet Earth outtakes because it's also not so informative and more about amazing sights, but the Life of... series is a proper documentary series.
posted by heatvision at 8:07 AM on April 9, 2011


If your daughter thought dinosaurs were awesome, she might get a real kick out of some of the nearly mythical-seeming creatures that live in the sea. The second episode of Blue Planet, "The Deep", is possibly the most mind-blowing thing I have ever seen. I saw it several years ago and still feel little shivers of awe and excitement when I think about it.
posted by ootandaboot at 2:46 PM on April 9, 2011


I'm surprised people are saying Planet Earth. I would say Life would be more exciting for a 7 year old. You still get amazing shots and scenes of nature, but there are awesome shots of living creatures up close! Although there are somewhat gruesome scenes where animals get eaten, and there's a lot about mating, so that's something to consider, depending on how much stuff you want to expose the kid to. Both are awesome though.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 5:49 PM on April 9, 2011


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