by Jef Burnham
Available on DVD & Blu-ray from BFS Entertainment on September 7, 2010.
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Geographer, author and host, Vanessa Collingridge, takes viewers on a unique aerial journey around Scotland in this three-episode series that is part travelogue, part historical documentary. Shot in HD, the Scotland Revealed Blu-ray is absolutely stunning visually, a treat for the eyes whether you’re soaring over Scotland’s natural landmarks such as the waterfall at Kilt Rock or looking down on the geometrical layout of Edinburgh’s New Town. And although I have admittedly not viewed the DVD release, I would contend that the upgrade to HD in this instance is easily worth the $3 more one would spend on the BD.
Certainly, you could put this series on mute and enjoy the imagery alone, but the socio-historical perspectives provided through interviews and narration allow Scotland Revealed to be so much more than eye candy. At numerous points throughout her journey, Collingridge sets down to discuss Scotland’s most fascinating attractions with historians, architects, mountaineers, and even a dinosaur enthusiast. Scotland Revealed is so pleasant and informational, it is honestly really hard to find fault with it. My only complaint (and it is arguably a trivial one) is that Collingridge nods constantly during the interviews, drawing attention from the interviewees by doing so. After a while, I found myself watching her even when she wasn’t nodding, wondering how long she could possibly last (by my count, 5 seconds at most). However, Collingridge proves to be a capable and energetic host otherwise, and no matter what situation she finds herself in, whether she is sipping Royal Lochnagar Whisky (a favorite of Queen Victoria) or fly fishing on the river Dee, her enthusiasm never feels overly forced.
As a bonus, included on these discs is a program entitled, Scotland’s Winter Wonderland, which, much in the same way Revealed soars about Scotland in celebration of the country’s beauty, takes a look at Scotland from above during its longest cold spell in 30 years, starting on December 23, 2009. Whereas the episodes of Scotland Revealed run about 45 minutes each, Winter Wonderland clocks in at a mere 23. However, though many of the same locations are photographed in this program as in Revealed (again in gorgeous HD), it is a wholly different experience to see the aforementioned landscapes blanketed in snow.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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