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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Martin Clune's Wild Life
Martin Clune's Wild Life
Acorn Media // Unrated // September 30, 2014
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted October 8, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Martin Clunes's Wild Life DVD Review


Martin Clues offers audiences a exciting and well
documented
exploration of animals through an interesting nature-based program
filled with
variety and splendor.  Released by
educational label Athena on DVD in a full set, the program entitled Martin
Clunes's Wild Life
is one that seeks to both entertain and
enlighten audience
with good, solid research on the animal kingdom. It also is designed as
a
series to showcase beautiful camerawork of these wondrous animals.


The program is both hosted and narrated by Martin
Clunes
(TV's Doc Martin). This set seeks to expand the mind on topics
such as
the relationship between man and dogs, the role of horses within the
workforce
of humans, the living habitat of the Manta Ray's within the Maldives,
Madagascar's lemur population and the efforts being made today to
conserve
them, and the concluding exploration focuses in on the lives of lions
living in
Kenya. In each of these fun documentary pieces, Clunes explores the
actual territories
and locations of the native animals, interviews experts on the
subjects,
explores everything from wild populations to more domestic relations
between
humankind and the beloved animals being documented.


Clunes is a self-professed animal fan who cares
deeply about
his own pets, who are a huge part of his family -- his pets are so
important to
him and it clearly shows through on this educational program. He has
several
dogs and two horses and as such seems to have picked the topic of dogs
and
horses as being the fore-front explored on this set of episodes. The
two-part exploration
that covers man's long-running connection to dog's as "man's best
friend"
is especially fascinating. In this documentary entitled "A Man and
His
Dogs
", Clunes explores the biological connection and evolution
between
dogs from wolves:  the species from which
dogs were eventually born and are descendants from.


 It was fascinating to
discover that the DNA of a wolf is 99% identical to that of your
average dog.
That DNA link is so close that there is very little genetically
separating the
two. And yet dogs are domesticated to be with humans on a normal basis,
whereas
wolves typically live in packs in the wild and are considered as
fiercely
independent from other species -- but always close together in their
packs. As
Clunes points out, wolves are able to kill for food whenever necessary.
By comparison,
our dogs tend to like bags of dry food and canned meats. There
certainly is a
big difference there.


Clunes makes this part of the set especially
interesting as
he is quick to add his own thoughts on his dogs and how he ponders this
mysterious connection. He is also open to exploring genetic links
between the
two species and the history of the domestication of dogs while also
being
confident enough to visit a wolf trainer who saved a pack of cub wolves
and
raised them as family. Yet when it comes time to feed, the wolves still
eat as
a pack, killing a deer with a ferocity that clearly differentiated the
lives of
wolves from those of cuddly doggy friends.


Clunes wants to look into this mystery -- and ask why
when considering history's domestication of dogs and the various
in-breeding
that has led to both some of the world's most beautiful pups, and also
some of
the most medically challenged -- as man's own involvement in breeding
has led
to a variety of medical issues afflicting dogs. He goes into an expert
veterinarian's hospital where he partakes in witnessing an important
surgery
(and in one rather amusing moment he mistakenly diagnoses a lab x-ray
when the
vet is trying to explain it to him -- showing that despite immense
talent in
performing a doctor on television, he's just a really good actor most
of the
time).


Throughout this documentary series, Clunes manages
to make
things exciting and educational. In being both the host and narrator he
provides a good grounding element to the production. He has an
immensely
relaxed voice that is perfectly suited for voice-over and his general
demeanor
is so quietly easygoing, engaged, and charming that audiences will find
it easy
to enjoy the series and it's fine pacing. It also doesn't hurt that his
affections for animals shine through and make him a better matched host
for
this type of program. With good writing that is quite informative on
the
topics, well-paced editing, and a stylistic approach that showcases the
beautiful landscapes and environments of the animals while Clune's
offers interesting
tidbits as the host, Martin Clunes's Wild Life is a
family-friendly and notable
educational program that should be perfectly suited to entertaining the
family while proficiently educating at the same time. This makes it an
easy
program to recommend to those interested in wildlife documentaries and
nature
programs.


The DVD:





Video:


The DVD release of Martin
Clunes's Wild Life
is of an exceptionally high quality for the
format. The
image is quite clean, smooth, and beautiful. As a standard definition
presentation, it still is something that manages to impress with good
detail
and clarity. The colors are well produced. Overall, Athena has done a
wonderful
job with this modern looking release which isn't a set suffering from
any
serious compression artifacts and which is generally impressive. The
set
preserves the original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1
widescreen.


Audio:


The Dolby Digital stereo audio presentation is
clean
sounding with easy to understand dialogue. There is nothing fancy at
all about
it but it does get the job done well and fans won't walk away feeling
disappointed.
While it's a standard track that doesn't offer a lot of interestingly
handled
speaker separation the clarity and the ambiance of the presentation is
perfectly suitable for this documentary series: ultimately offering up
complementary audio to the fine visual presentation. 


English SDH subtitles (for the deaf and hard of
hearing) are
provided.





Extras:


 


On disc photo
galleries related to the episodes included on the set are included.
There is
also a 12 page viewer guide booklet with has select mini articles on
famous
celebrities and their pets, and it includes some notes relevant to the
topics
covered in this set (domestication of dogs, famous horses, and
information on
the biodiversity of Madagascar).


Final Thoughts:


Martin Clunes's Wild Life is a
surprisingly inventive
and fascinating documentary series with the beloved actor from Doc
Martin

providing great details about the subjects he explores related to
animals and
the natural wildlife of the world. The two-part segment on Dogs and how
humans
have become connected with them was amazing, and provided a lot of
information
had never expected to learn on the subject. With beautiful
cinematography and a
charming host, this is a worthy and educational program worth seeking
out.


Athena has also done a good job in bringing the
show to DVD with a superior
PQ presentation. Fans of nature programs are strongly encouraged to
check out this
fun show.


Highly Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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