DVD review: Take a quick trip to a land Down Under

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Grade • A

DVD/Blu Ray• Only PBS' "NOVA" could boil "Australia's First 4 Billion Years" down into a four-part series — and do it well.

This documentary chronicles the continent Down Under from the birth of the planet 4½ billion years ago until today — a decidedly fast-paced trip with host Richard Smith. The four hourlong episodes focus on "Awakening," "Life Explodes," "Monsters" and "Strange Creatures," and none of them are overselling their content. "Australia's First 4 Billion Years" has everything from dinosaurs to weird crustaceans, giant asteroids to giant kangaroos.

It's remarkably beautiful to look at and is interesting enough so that you don't realize you're learning while you're being entertained. —

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