In a move some will undoubtedly view as a shocking turn of events, this one will be short and sweet.
Have you ever wanted to be trapped in the television section of your local Best Buy for the better part of two hours, watching one of those demo reels over and over? If so, this disc may just be the next best thing, because Nature's Colors with the World's Greatest Music (how's that for an unwieldy title?) is roughly two hours of high-def nature footage set to selections of classical music. For those who are interested (and to help pad out this review), here's a rundown of the featured pieces:
Clair De Lune Debussy
Cannon In D Pachebel
Dawn From Peer Gynt Greig
Moonlight Sonata Beethoven
Eine Kleine Nachtmusic Mozart
Piano Concerto #21 Mozart
Air For The G String Bach
Allegro From Spring Vivaldi
Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring Bach
Für Elise Beethoven
Allegro From #5 Schubert
Habanera From Carmen Bizet
Waltz Of The Flowers Tchaikovsky
Allegretto Non Troppo Mendelssohn
Not a bad selection, is it? Too bad it adds up to one incredibly boring, monotonous experience. A little of this goes a long way; watching this for an extended period of time is like spending Christmas watching that burning Yule log video. Maybe it's just me, but I can only take so many shots of butterflies landing on flowers (an experience I can get in my backyard pretty much any time I want) or pans across the edges of dusk-tinged forests. Trust me, if you've seen one shot of a drop of water falling from the end of a rain-soaked fern's frond, you've pretty much seen them all. After about ten minutes I shut it off, waited about an hour, and then came back to it. Another ten minutes or so in and I took the disc out and waited two days before starting it up again, but history repeated itself. I strongly suspect this isn't intended to be a take-it-all-in-in-one-sitting experience), but you know you're really in trouble you break it up and it remains a chore to sit through. (I imagine most purchasers would use it show off their equipment, but it fails as demo material, but we'll get to that in a minute.) And as much as I enjoy the accompanying music, even it gets old after a while, primarily because so much of it is so familiar. I'm sure that recognizable selections are a selling point, but it's also detrimental when the music is this ubiquitous. Ultimately, I think what we're dealing with here is a product that would work best as a short sampler; stretching it out to roughly two hours is almost lethal.
Presented in 1080i at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Nature's Colors leaves much to be desired video-wise. Static shots often dazzle with their breathtaking clarity, depth and detail, but any sort of movement (and I'm using that word as a catch-all for pans, zooms, etc.) causes the image to fall apart. Artifacts, noise, moiré patterns, and jagged edges are all present, quite often within the same shot. Each and every segment follows the same pattern, which makes it all the more annoying: the static opening shot takes you aback, giving false hope that the video has finally found its footing, then the camera begins to move and it all pretty much goes to hell (I fell for this maybe seven or eight times before resigning myself to the fact it wasn't going to change).
The audio is available in Dolby Digital and uncompressed PCM 5.1 tracks (the packaging mistakenly indicates that True HD and Dolby Digital Plus tracks are included). There's very little spread across the front channels, sound only occasionally bleeds into the surrounds, and low end activity is minimal. The differences between the two audio tracks aren't are readily discernible as they normally are, but the PCM track does slightly edge out its Dolby counterpart.
No bonus material has been included.
Good music and some pretty pictures do not a good disc make, and lackluster audio and video do not good demo material make. If you're looking for a similar experience, you'd be better served loading up your CD or MP3 player and going on a hike.