America is most certainly a beautiful country, especially our gorgeous National Parks system. America the Beautiful is a look at ten of the most beautiful parks in the system. Mill Creek Entertainment originally released this set four years ago on DVD but has recently upgraded it with a new Blu-ray release. Earlier this year I took a look at America’s Treasures (which covered our National Monuments), think of this as a companion release to that set. Like that release, America the Beautiful is a solid release for its target audience but won’t really convert those who don’t like travel/nature documentaries.
This is going to be a pretty short review because there really isn’t that much to talk about on releases like this. America the Beautiful is basically thirteen hours of shots from around the parks (some gorgeous, some less so) with some background information presented by a rather boring narrator. The ten National Parks featured in this three-disc set are:
- Acadia National Park (Maine)
- The Black Hills and Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
- Everglades National Park (Florida)
- Death Valley National Park (California and Nevada)
- Glacier National Park (Montana)
- Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee)
- Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)
- Yellowstone National Park (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming)
- Yosemite National Park (California)
America the Beautiful also features a bonus documentary called National Parks: An Eagle’s View that gives viewers an aerial look at the parks. All of the big, well-known parks are covered in this set as well as some smaller and lesser known ones like Voyageurs National Park and Acadia. The episodes are pretty much guided tours of the park but I would say they are more for people who can’t travel as much as they’d like rather than for those planning a trip. The set does do a decent job in that area but guidebooks and the like are going to be much more informative for people planning a trip.
Some of the episodes in this release are on the lengthy side, running up to 80 minutes long. While some of the parks have enough content to fill out that run time, others don’t really have that much to offer. Information is presented at a very relaxed pace and the focus is definitely on the scenery rather than the narrator. Some people may not like how slow-paced this series is but it is definitely the kind of thing you can chill out and relax to if you are into that kind of thing. For other viewers, it could bore them to tears.
I unfortunately do not own the DVD version of this release to compare this to visually but I will say that America the Beautiful is pretty solid in the video quality department. As I wrote earlier, some shots are absolutely gorgeous but there are also some other ones that look more like they’re in standard definition. This isn’t a big budget IMAX type series so don’t be expecting amazing picture quality but if your expectations are reasonable, America the Beautiful will meet them.
If you are a fan of the National Parks and either can’t travel to them or are looking for ways to relive your experiences in them, America the Beautiful is a perfectly acceptable release. If you are into travel/nature documentaries like me, you’ll probably enjoy it. However, if you don’t fit into any of those niche audiences America the Beautiful is trying to appease, this certainly isn’t going to change your mind about the genre. This set is definitely slow-paced and not the type of thing you’ll binge watch but it could be very nice comfort food for those looking for a chill look at our National Parks.
America the Beautiful was released on Blu-ray on October 23, 2018.
Buy America the Beautiful on Amazon: Blu-ray
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of America the Beautiful used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.