Filmed over the course of a year, Scotland's enigmatic Hebridean islands are the stage of rock and water that offer unrivalled dramatic scenes of contrasting natural forces. From grey seals trying to protect their young from giant waves, to puffins, eagles and basking sharks, this is wildlife at its purest.
Filmed with pioneering underwater macro, aerial and infra-red cinematography Islands on the Edge delivers unrivalled richness of content about a landscape that few of us will ever have the privilege to experience.
"On the edge of the Atlantic lies a world of rock and water" is the phrase that begins the journey that Ewan McGregor takes us through. It is nearly four hours of amazing footage of the Hebrides and rocks and water are the setting for the majority of the film.
The footage is crystal clear and left my four year old son, husband and I in awe as we watched. I find that nature programmes can hold my son's interest and create questions and discussion far better than your average 'children's programme'. It is really nice to be able to sit down as a family and watch something that really interests all of us. My 2 year old daughter watched some of the film as she played beside us. I have got to say that the screen caught her eye much more than any other thing on the TV has done so previously. We don't watch too much TV and she is usually more interested in playing than taking in what is on the screen.
I find it incredible how the film crew managed to get such close-up photography of the birds and animals in the film. I can see how it took them a year to follow and capture it all. I was able to see the individual grains of sand on the seals and the beads of water flicking off the birds as they dived in the water. How often do you get a change to see right inside a stags mouth as he roars? When I saw it on the film, I felt I was right there. All I can say is "WOW"! It would have been an incredible experience for the film crew to be part of the unique filming for this production.
By watching the film, we got to meet many animals and birds that we would never get so close to in real life (if at all). We got to see how life is for these animals and birds and how they interact with each other. In addition to the rough waves and weather above the water, we also got to see the contrast of the under-sea world, where things are calm and reliant on the strong tides and currents. It is a beautiful and colourful world below the rough waves.
The narration is in a similar style to other nature programmes of this type. I do, however, think that this one is done particularly well. The mix of narration and quiet time to think is well balanced. Ewan McGregor's voice is calm and easy to listen to. The language he uses in the narration is descriptive and varied. Exposure to this rich language and spectacular footage will inspire my children to add to their vocabulary and as time goes on, use it in their writing. I know that when I was a child, this sort of film would have caught my attention.
The music is well-matched with the various scenes in the film. Gentle and sweet during some parts and then moving into dramatic music as the the action builds up.
The cruel reality of the life the seals lead on the rugged shores hit as we watched a mother and her newborn pup trying to survive in the highest tides of the year. They got caught out in the water as the mother was trying to teach the pup to swim. I was left sitting watching and waiting to see their fate. Tears welled in my eyes as I watched the mother unable to help her baby as it attempted to swim back to shore. My heart came back out of my mouth as I saw the little pup successfully arrive. This is the scene that has the biggest effect on me.
Who would have thought that a nature programme could leave you on the edge of your seat just like an action thriller! Watching Islands on the Edge was a fabulous "Friday night at the movies" for our whole family. I think that this film will be one that my family will watch many times again.
Random listing from 'Entertainment'...
Season three of Star Trek: Voyager begins with the titular space vessel still in the hands of the enemy Kazon, and Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and most of her crew still stranded on Hanon IV, a desolate planet that closely resembles a prehistoric Earth. Eventually extricating themselves from this situation, the crew survives to embark on innumerable other adventures in their efforts to escape the distant Gamma Quadrant and return to their Starfleet Command home base.
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"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989