Monday, May 19, 2008
Planet Earth (2006)
(Image from Wikipedia)
Planet Earth (2006)
I'm not going to say much about 'Planet Earth' other than to state the obvious - the BBC produced nature documentary is fantastic. Spanning every conceivable environment on the planet, it serves as an awe inspiring snapshot of the wonders of the natural world. David Attenborough's dulcet tones guide viewers through 11 episodes, each of which covers a different habitat and the diverse life within it, from tropical rainforests to mountains to caves to the creepily alien depths of the ocean. While it only scratches the surface, what it presents is still overwhelming in terms of scope and visual impact. The camerawork on display is simply incredible*, and the mind reels at the visuals the crew managed to capture - thankfully each episode has a short video diary that shows how they went about getting some of these shots, but to be honest I could have done with even more. The series is accompanied by a fitting orchestral score that varies from episode to episode to match the environment on display.
Some of my favourite moments: everything from the deep ocean - seriously, it was like looking upon another, completely alien, world! An elephant being taken down by a pack of ravenous lions. A snow leopard hunting on the rocky slopes of the Afghan Himalayan mountains. Jumpy lizards bouncing around like jack-in-the-boxes while feeding on flies. A plague of locusts. A chimpanzee tribe brutally raiding their neighbours in order to assert their dominance. Dolphins risking becoming beached by 'sliding' along very shallow water to nab out-of-reach fish. A great white shark making a kill in glorious slow motion. A polar bear curling up to die far away from its usual territory after repeatedly failing to earn a kill from a nearby colony of walruses.
And there are many many more incredible moments on display. 'Planet Earth' is 11 hours of absolutely superb documentary filmmaking that captures the sheer diversity present on good old Terra; it's a must watch for everybody.
*One amusing think I noticed while watching this - after years of seeing massive special effects shots in movies, some of the aerial shots looking down on herds of animals looked 'fake'. Perhaps the effects are better than I give them credit for!