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Great Zebra Exodus(TV) (2013)
Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans are home to the largest zebra population in southern Africa, but it’s not an easy life. There is no permanent water in the arid saltpans, so thousands of zebras are dependent on isolated summer rains for their survival.
For more about Great Zebra Exodus and the Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray release, see Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on June 15, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Narrator: Chris Morgan
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Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray Review
Stallion, you are NOT the father.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, June 15, 2013
"Great Zebra Exodus" (an episode of the PBS program "Nature") sets out to communicate the hardship of the titular animal as it strives to survive in a harsh world of starvation and roving predators. We visit Botswana, Africa to greet the zebras, who embark on a monumental migration every year across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, an area where rain and food are scarce, forcing the zebras to march for over 2,500 miles on the hunt for sustenance.
As it goes with "Nature" programs, the zebras don't have an easy journey. While a lack of food is a concern for the creatures, it's thirst that assumes top priority, with endless passages of the trek achieved on a parched land that only sees occasional moisture, leaving behind shallow watering holes that face stiff competition from elephants, wildebeests, and birds. "Great Zebra Exodus" also focuses on the inner workings of the community, where males battle to take command of harems, protecting their bloodline with shocking instinctual behavior. The final moments of the show are devoted to one such male, who stomps a foal to death after detecting that the youngster belonged to a different stallion. It's grim footage, so parents beware before sitting wee ones down with this show.
As much as "Great Zebra Exodus" remains with the plight of its subject, time is spent away from the striped ones. Meerkats are nearly offered equal screentime, following their own adventures in the desert, observing community behaviors and breeding. Lapwings, flamingos, and ostriches also pass on by. Lions are mentioned, but surprisingly fail to factor into the circle of life activity on display. The role of resident meat moocher is reserved for vultures.
Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation is soft, but generally satisfactory with fine detail, holding on the particulars of animal hair and location character. Colors are healthy and settled, working through expressive sunlit skies and hues of fur. Banding is detected but never distracting. Blacks are deep and informative, capturing evening encounters with texture, while dense fur is always available for inspection.
Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix keeps to typical nature documentary consistency, with surrounds that are never exploited to satisfaction, employed primarily to push out scoring efforts and nibble on faint atmospherics. Narration by Chris Morgan is pronounced, centralized, and deep, while scoring maintains strong instrumentation, setting the African mood accordingly. Low-end shows some rumble with heavier animals and thunder, but not much else.
Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There is no supplementary material on this disc.
Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The production attempts to keep spirits up with stories of lame foals supported by tenacious parents and grand displays of community drinking once large deposits of water are located. However, "Grand Zebra Exodus" retains an unnerving darkness about it. While I suppose this approach represents a reality to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans experience, it doesn't always make for a comfortable sit, while subplots with additional animals tend to distract from the topic at hand. Zebras have it rough out there, but surely there's a little more light to their lives than this program captures.
Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Nature: Great Zebra Exodus Blu-ray - May 16, 2013
PBS Distribution has announced the Blu-ray release of the next installment in the Nature series: Great Zebra Exodus, a 60-minute documentary about southern Africa's largest zebra population, found on the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana. Great Zebra Exodus arrives ...
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