Fabulous Frogs (DVD)

“Frogs amazing adaptations and survival techniques have made them the most successful of all amphibians.”

Originally produced by the BBC and later broadcast as part of the long-running PBS show Nature, this latest episode — Fabulous Frogs — is quite obviously host Sir David Attenborough’s passion project. It’s that passion which seduces the audience into watching, holding our attention for the short runtime of just under an hour.

The episode is broken down into five segments…

* “Lively Leapers” — An introduction to the world of frogs, with nods to some of the lesser known species.

* “Attracting a Female” — The differences in mating rituals are highlighted.

* “Rearing the Young” — First comes love, and then comes babies. How the frogs deal with their young is discussed.

* “Special Powers” — You’ll definitely learn a thing or two in this section, which demonstrates some of the more obscure abilities these amphibians possess.

* “Extinction and Adaptation” — Ending on a bittersweet note the threat of extinction is brought up with hopes for the species’ possible continuation.

It’s easy to get caught up in Fabulous Frogs when you listen to David Attenborough begin to speak. His energy and enthusiasm convince you to hear him out. You will definitely learn something, and I recommend it as an informative and entertaining way to spend an hour.

The best part of PBS’ standard def 1.85:1 transfer are the myriad of time-lapse and slow-motion shots. The care which was taken to crystallize these images into the sharpest detail possible imbues the transfer with an almost animated otherworldly feel, as if what we’re seeing could have come from nowhere else but the imagination. The color timing should be noted, as there are several different types of shots woven together and the color timing lends them all a welcome cohesion. There is occasionally some grain within the “talking head” portions, but the rest of the beauty more than makes up for the momentary lapses. The palette is subdued for the most part, an intentional choice as it allows the pops of colors to really be showcased. And there are plenty of colorful frogs hopping around to provide a visual feast. Speaking of, the audio track is a feast for the ears. The Dolby 5.1 surround track is well-balanced, with Attenborough’s narration never falling outside the audible range. While that narration is clearly overlaid at points it’s never hollow but instead seamlessly superimposed.

There are no special features.

Fans of frogs will find themselves in amphibian heaven viewing Fabulous Frogs. Those with a more passing interest will still learn something when watching the program, which I do recommend catching. Attenborough’s love for these creatures is touching and educational, a welcome slant on the topic.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

90
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