PBS // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 16th, 2011
I did my third-grade science project on birds and scored enough points to tie for first place. But a calculating error deprived me of the victory on the day of the judging. Instead a couple of fifth grade girls earned the glory and they got a huge picture in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. I can still picture the headline: "Winning with Wind Power." Eventually the error in my score was fixed, was awarded first place, and I got my twenty dollar savings bond, but what I really wanted -- a retraction from the paper, or at least a follow-up picture of me standing there with my certificate of excellence grinning like a champion -- never materialized.
Which leads me to Birds of the Gods, an hour-long trip through New Guinea, with iconic nature connoisseur David Attenborough as your narrative guide. Here we meet a pair of New Guinea ornithologists who plunge into the impenetrable wilderness to sneak a gander at the mythical "birds of paradise," avian specimens so reclusive and beautiful, it was thought they had been deposited on Earth directly from Heaven.
The birds' backstory and biology is dwelled upon, as we see the New Guinean researchers construct their camouflaged bird-watching stand, tucked into a tree, while masked with leaves and branches. From their perch they are indeed able to spy on these vaunted birds and the photography is brilliant. The feature caps off with a genuinely awesome mating ritual by a bird that essentially turns into a bright-blue dinner plate and bounces around, attempting to woo his beloved. That's a crappy way to describe the majesty of the exhibition, but trust me it's cool.
So what does my science fair story and Birds of the Gods have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing. But now I'm at 300 words and that' just enough to qualify as a review!
The DVD: a robust 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, 5.1 surround, and no extras.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* PBS Nature