‘Nature: Santa’s Wild Home’ Is A Museum Quality Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The holiday season has come and gone once again, but don’t tell the people at PBS and PBS Distribution.  That is because early last month – Jan. 5 to be exact — PBS Distribution released a new gift for eyes and ears in another new episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series Nature in the form of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home.  The 53-minute presentation takes viewers to Lapland, Finland, also playfully called “Santa’s Home.”  It gained that moniker because of all of its snow and reindeer, and has been associated with Santa since approximately 1927.  This episode of Nature is an interesting presentation because it is anchored more by its cinematography than anything else.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the cinematography goes a long way toward making the program appealing, the story adds a tiny touch more enjoyment.  It will be discussed a little later.  The narration of that story builds even more on its appeal and rounds out the most important of the episode’s elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item addressed here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this episode of Nature a gift on DVD that any Nature fan will appreciate.

PBS Distribution’s recently released home presentation of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is a gift that any Nature fan will appreciate whether on Christmas or any other time of the year.  That is proven in large part through its cinematography.  Viewers will wonder at the powerful visuals of Lapland, which is the northernmost region of Finland.  It is in fact part of the Arctic Circle.  The time lapse photography of the northern lights shining bright in the region’s night sky is so powerful, seeing the lights not only in the sky, but reflecting in the water below.  The aerial shots of the reindeer being herded make for their own appeal.  It is so interesting to see the reindeer moving together, moving along so steadily.  On yet another note, the footage of the humpback whales breaching in the waters off the region’s coast is simply awe-inspiring.  Those shots are taken at the water level, from what one has to assume were from the deck of a boat.  Being so close up to the action adds to that moment’s entertainment even more.  Watching a Great Gray Owl coast down onto the snow, as simple as it is, is impressive, too.  One has to wonder about the frames per second rate that was used to capture this moment as the owl’s wings help it glide in and catch its prey in the snow.  Even the aerial footage of the region’s fjords makes for its own appeal, too.  The whole comes across as a visual experience that is perfectly fit for a large, widescreen.  As a matter of fact, one can’t help but wonder in watching all of these images, if the initial presentation was recorded in IMAX.  It is that powerful, overall, and makes for a solid foundation for the overall presentation.

While the visual aspect of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home does a lot to make the program so engaging and entertaining, the story that accompanies the visuals adds perhaps slightly more.  To be precise, the story in question is not even really much of a story.  It is really just a profile of all of the wildlife that call Lapland home.  As noted, there are humpback whales and Great Grey Owls.  Along with them, there are also Orcas, bears, wolves, and of course plenty of reindeer.  Audiences learn through the program’s “story” about the competition for resources between the wolves and bears during the colder, snowy months of the year, as well as the dangers that even other bears face from the larger males.  Additionally, viewers get to watch a mother Great Grey Owl raising her young.  That part of the “story” offers audiences some light hearted moments as the adolescent owl grows up.  Narrator Scott Brick even makes a joke here that will garner some laughs from viewers.  The joke in question is subtle and will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.  Speaking of the narration, it works with the cinematography to put the finishing touch to the presentation.

Brick’s narration is so calm throughout the course of the episode.  Yet the color that he uses in his delivery and the very wording and pacing that is used ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  Whether Brick wrote his own script or it was written for him is unknown, but regardless it does so much for the presentation.  It takes a program that is otherwise little more just a visual treat and makes it a rich, enthralling work that is up there with some of the best museum quality documentaries.  Between Brick’s work, that of those who captured the episode’s footage, and those who edited the whole thing and assembled it all, the presentation becomes a work that is a unique gift for fans of Nature.

PBS Distribution’s home release of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is a presentation that is as good as any museum quality documentary.  It might not necessarily be overly memorable in the long term, but is still an impressive presentation in its own right that is worth watching at least occasionally.  That is proven in part through the episode’s cinematography, which forms the episode’s foundation.  The cinematography is a visual treat for audiences and is sure to keep viewers engaged and entertained throughout.  The “story” at the episode’s heart is a profile of the animals that call Lapland home.  It doesn’t really tell a story per se, but at least builds a little on the cinematography.  The narration featured in this episode rounds out its most important elements.  The narration provides a certain nuance to the episode that when paired with the cinematography, helps to make this episode a strong and visual experience that holds its own against any museum quality documentary.  Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/PBSNature

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/PBSNature

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