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Equator: Power of an Ocean
No synopsis for Equator: Power of an Ocean.
For more about Equator: Power of an Ocean and the Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray release, see Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray Review published by Dustin Somner on January 20, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Narrator: Peter Hayden
» See full cast & crew
Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray Review
The first misfire from the "Equator" series...
Reviewed by Dustin Somner, January 20, 2010
Power of an Ocean is another entry in the "Equator" documentary series that originally aired on Animal Planet and Discovery HD. Each 53 minute episode focuses on a different region of the equatorial line, introducing viewers to various ecosystems that support an abundant variety of life.
This episode focused primarily on the volcanic Galapagos Islands of the Pacific Ocean, and the profound effect of the ocean current on the wildlife that call the islands home. In a nutshell, the islands are largely dependent on fast moving undercurrents that run against the natural flow of the surface waters, creating an aquatic highway for the delivery of precious minerals and nutrients. This influx of Antarctic water presents challenges for the animals who are accustomed to the hot temperatures of the sun-drenched coastline, but rewards them with a flourishing food chain that remains vital to the survival of future generations.
This is the third "Equator" production from Razor Digital I've had the opportunity to review, and so far it stands as the weakest entry in the series. The Galapagos Islands are a perfect focus for an hour-long episode, and I found the information provided in the narration almost as dense as Battle for the Light (though both episodes are just a hair below the educational standard set by Challenge of Change), but the variety of species across the island ecosystems lack the intricacies and contrast I've come to expect from the Equator series. By the time we've been introduced to fish, crabs, birds, and lizards, the episode hit a virtual wall, resulting in an odd decision to simply go back and introduce a new set of adaptive qualities within the same set of species we've already grown accustomed to.
From a photography standpoint, this is a marginal step backward for a series that showed tremendous promise in capturing amazing footage. Most of the shots during Power of an Ocean consist of birds sitting on eggs and/or making nests, lizards sun-bathing on exposed rock, or fish swimming between large mountains of coral. There are still fleeting moments of above-average footage, such as a penguin swimming through a school of tiny salimas that part ranks whenever it switches direction, or a young comorant bullying the relaxing iguanas for kicks, but despite the occasional appearance of impressive footage, this is fairly standard material.
In closing, I'd like to briefly mention the creature I found most interesting in this feature. Prior to Power of an Ocean, I had no idea there were crabs with legs that exceed three feet in length, so witnessing the size and power of the coconut crab was truly awe-inspiring. Furthermore, when you consider how difficult it can be to break through the tough exterior of a coconut, the fact that these crabs are able to tear them apart with their massive pincers becomes almost frightening. Thank goodness the massive red critters aren't called toe crabs.
Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray, Video Quality
It should be noted that the outer case incorrectly labels this disc as 1080P FULL HD.
Presented in 1080i utilizing the AVC codec (at an average bitrate of 32Mbps) Power of an Ocean offers an inconsistent visual experience that falls short of the proficiency shown on other episodes of the series. Detail is the primary culprit in my lack of enthusiasm, with at least 20 percent of the underwater footage appearing a touch on the hazy side. I'd fully attribute the lack of clarity to the murky underwater environments if it weren't for the same underwhelming lack of detail in several land shots of birds and iguanas. Considering the problems aren't merely limited to one particular environment, I'd place blame on the shoulders of the transfer. Beyond the marginal detail, color use is solid, with greens or blues dominating the spectrum, and subtle shade variance in the intricate surface of the coral reef. Black levels remain appropriately deep during 95% of the feature, but there are occasional contrast issues during the underwater footage, which led to a slight loss of shadow detail. In closing, there's an odd tendency for bright backgrounds to bleed into the dark outlines of various animals, creating a blue line along the shade transition. I noticed it the most during the sequences focusing on the cormorant birds, whose dark feathers seemed the most susceptible to this effect.
Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The two audio offerings on the disc are both presented in English, but one is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and the other is a LPCM 2.0 track. Considering both options lack the incorporation of significant surround activity, I settled for the lossless mix, which offered a higher degree of clarity in comparison with the lossy track. Every element is afforded appropriate weight from a volume standpoint, and although there's no surround use for environmental noises, I was pleased with the subtle effects picked up by the sound crew on the original recording. I'm still disappointed there wasn't a decent surround sound offering on the disc, but for a 2.0 track, the lossless option was better than I expected, and serves as a suitable complement to the visuals.
Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are no supplements included on the disc.
Equator: Power of an Ocean Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Just when I thought the "Equator" series was shaping up to be the best thing since Planet Earth, I found an episode that can best be described as a road-bump in an otherwise smooth ride. As a result, I'm reserving further judgment until I can assess additional episodes and provide an accurate conclusion regarding the series as a whole.
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