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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Raising the Mammoth (2000)

Review By: Brian Cook   
Published: July 25, 2000

Stars: Jeff Bridges - NarratorBernard Buigues
Director: Jean-Charles Deniau

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 91 minutes
Release Date: June 27, 2000
UPC: 012236105992
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- A-B-B+ C-

DVD Review

When I was a kid, I always wondered why my Dad would watch those boring nature documentaries. He would sit there staring at the television, eyes wide with fascination, while I lay bored to death on the floor. Well, now it's my turn! My son, Roddy, stuck around for about fifteen minutes of this documentary while I sat there staring at the television, eyes wide with fascination.

Raising the Mammoth tells the story of Bernard Buigues and his team of explorers who travel to Siberia in search of a fully intact wooly mammoth. With the help of an ancient Siberian tribe of reindeer herders, Bernard is led to the spot where a mammoth lay frozen below the surface for the past 20,000 years.

The documentary then shows what Bernard and his team had to endure in trying to find the mammoth and bring him to the surface intact, battling the harsh Siberian weather the whole time. I remember reading about the mammoth extraction on the internet, but I had no idea what the explorers went through in order to bring it to the surface.

This is an extremely interesting story of man versus nature. In addition to the mammoth excavation, we learn a little about the history of the mammoth and his relationship to the modern day elephant. We also learn of the explorers intention to possibly clone the mammoth by using preserved tissue samples. The only complaint I have about this disc is that the story just seems to run a little long with some repetition. But, compared to what Bernard and his men had to endure, I shouldn't complain. Overall a very interesting story if you are into this sort of thing. My Dad would love it!

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Obviously, this is not a big-budget Hollywood production and the image quality of the disc reflects that. The image is a little soft and grainy, but it in no way distracts for the viewing experience. The disc handles the bright outdoor snow scenes, of which there are many, quite well. A very clean transfer which is perfectly acceptable for this type of presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby stereo and it sounds very good. There is really no need for any surround activity on this documentary, so it is not missed. The narration and dialog are clear and there is even some LFE activity present. Very good audio transfer.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 30 cues
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Scientist Biographies
  2. Mammoth Fact-File
  3. A Conversation with French Explorer Bernard Buigues
  4. Mammoth Timeline
Extras Review: The extras included on this disc are definitely nothing to write home about. Each of the four extras are presented as material that needs to be read off the screen, even the interview with Bernard Buigues, which I was looking forward to seeing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the extra material isn't interesting. I'm just saying that it would have been much more interesting had it been presented in the form of a booklet. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with the extras on this otherwise great disc.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

If you are the kind of person who finds nature documentaries fascinating, you should love this disc. It is a very interesting story about an absolutely amazing accomplishment. The audio and video compliment the presentation nicely and, even with the annoyance of the supplemental material, I would highly recommend this disc to anyone who is even remotely interested in this kind of story.


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