“To explore new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.” is pretty much what BBC Planet Earth does and it does it spectacularly. Volume 2 of the Planet Earth DVD collection features Caves, Deserts, and Ice Worlds. Narrated by Richard Attenborough, these documentaries are pretty good but only one fascinating and captivating. All three are often a visual feast.
Caves, the first documentary on BBC Planet Earth Volume 2 opens in the Cave of Swallows in Mexico, a cave first explored only two years before man landed on the moon and home to some pretty weird creatures. Also new is Lechuguilla, a cave discovered in 1986 in the U.S. and its Chandelier Ballroom. Stalactites and stalagmites only have a very minor role here. The Deer Cave in Borneo segment features some great aerial combat footage between bats and birds of prey. Also featured is Carlsbad Cavern in the U.S., the underwater system of the Yucatan on which the Maya depended, and Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand. This segment features more than its fair share of strange and unique creatures.
The second documentary here is Deserts. Spectacular vistas do not quite make up for the nothing much new feeling when it comes to the information provided here. It is still a good segment though and of course features the Gobi and Sahara.
Ice Worlds, the third documentary on this DVD is a bit less serious than the first two and features some funny footage of adelie penguins. There are penguins galore in this BBC Planet Earth Volume 2 segment, especially the emperor penguin. This is also the most spectacular of the three shows on this DVD with some eye popping speeded up film footage. Like the Deserts segment, a fan of the nature documentary will learn nothing new here. Some of the footage was also seen in the volume 1 From Pole to Pole segment.
A weak point of Planet Earth is especially obvious in the Caves episode. The segue from the Yucatan underground river system to the sea caves of New Zealand requires a few seconds before you can figure out the switch.
The BBC Planet Earth series is a must for anyone into nature documentary film or eye candy for your high definition TV.