I'm usually not a big fan of documentaries, but "South Pacific BBC" is an exception. This 6-part BBC mini-series of the South Pacific shows not only clichéd postcard-style images, but also the south pacific's diverse wildlife, people, history and its condition today.
Interesting stories alternate with amazing images from the air as well as in the water. At the end of every Episode, the "South Pacific Diaries" show the difficulties the team experienced while filming and the high-tech material they used.
As the BBC is not only ad-driven, they were able to invest a huge amount of money, which pays off: top-notch direction, sound, narrating and image quality (check the blu-ray!). I see no big flaws, only the wildlife parts are in a few cases a bit boring.
Another excellent BBC wildlife documentary featuring breathtaking high-definition photography and a detailed overview on diverse aspects related to earth's biggest ocean such as insular evolution and environmental activities.
While the didactic approach of Attenborough's "Life"-series is still unsurpassed in its clarity and empathy, there's more than enough informative material gathered to fill six joyous hours.
Be prepared to be stunned by the brilliant use of slow motion.
This is outstanding series of exploration of region never filmed or no human ever seen before. The way stories are covered are very well organized and gives pleasant when watching. There are plethora of shots which clearly seem to be taken with well planning and patience with perfect angle and position.
Every series prepared with rhythmic storyline. For example, Endless Blue starts with lost sailors and move towards life of sperm whale, and then go in-depth of middle south-pacific to explore species that we never ever seen and never filmed before or say explored by anyone.
Use of high-definition and slow-motion cameras makes the scenes perfect
'South Pacific' is a hugely informative and exceptionally well-made series. Inevitable, though some may argue unfair, comparisons may be (have been in fact) made to the output of David Attenborough, to me 'South Pacific' is one of the better documentary series in recent years to not have Attenborough's name on it and stands wonderfully on its own, if just lacking the special magic of Attenborough's best work.
There are so many great things here in 'South Pacific'. Its premise is dealt with exceptionally in every single episode, the environments, how they're lived in, how the humans adapt to the environments, there are some very interesting topics and important ones handled truly admirably. Also in a way that is illuminating but not preachy (which is a potential danger with anything environmental-themed and a danger often fallen into).
Sure, there could have been a touch more clarity in parts, but there is very little to dislike here.
When it comes to how it's written, 'South Pacific' does just as good a job entertaining and teaching, it's all very sincerely done and it never feels like a sermon. There are things here that are common sense and knowledge but one is taught a huge deal as well.
Benedict Cumberbatch's narration delivery is similarly on the money, very sensitively delivered, engaging and sonorous.
Visually, 'South Pacific' may lack the awe-inspiring, almost cinematic quality of the David Attenborough documentaries. With that being said, it is gorgeously shot, shot in a fluid, graceful and never static way, and is chock-full of strikingly memorable images. In every episode, the scenery and environments are like characters of their own, they're all incredible to look at and have a lot of atmosphere.
Every episode is appropriately scored, never intrusive or too low-key, and the different stories are powerful in a harrowing and poignant way, not to mention very honest and visually striking.
In summary, beautifully made, educational and emotional, basically a winner. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Benedict Cumberbatch narrates this six hour-long BBC nature series about the south pacific. The first episode jumps around from island to island. The predator caterpillars are incredible although the jumping around gets random. There is a structure from episode to episode but this show needs a simple map or better computer animations to explain the structure. For example, the Castaway episode could illustrated more clearly the migration routes and the vast distances through an animated map. In the Volcano episode, the life cycle of the volcano can be illustrated with simple animation. The sixth episode does have some disturbing fishing imagery which has a sad beauty in high def.
Despite the jumping around and a need for clearer expositions, this series is simply beautiful. The creatures, the waters, and even the people are impossibly exotic and wonderfully amazing. The rolling waves and 'Over the Rainbow' closing credits fill me with a relaxed deserted-tropical-beach joy.
This series follows the same banal story lines as National Geographic documentaries: feature a zoom view of the mating ritual of some local animals then feature some pagan, sensual ritual by natives dressed in loin cloths and a zoom view of their genital sheaths, and don't forget to remind people that the earth is billions of years old and that man and animals all evolved from the same rock in a primordial mud puddle.
I wish they had spent more time on the beauty of the South Pacific, its wildlife (minus the gratuitous mating scenes), and on more modern historical events (like notable castaways, World War II battles on the islands, etc.). Frankly watching some primitive, mud-encrusted, would-be savage get beaten with sticks and dance around a fire with plumes on his head is about as interesting and inspiring as watching paint dry. Then again, it makes me thankful that God allowed me to be born in the US, instead of in the jungle of Irian Jaya or on the banks of the Zambezi.
I wanted to watch something serene, educational, and tasteful with my 9 year old daughter. This series does not fit that description.