|Index||6 reviews in total|
There are people, who absolutely hate this film. OK, I can understand
why. The movie going audience today expects humor, action, special
effects... and no, nature can not offer the same breath taking effects
as computer technicians at major Hollywood studios can, but if you'd
stop and think (which isn't one of the strongest points of the average
movie going population now-a-days) about it, you'd see the beauty of
The shots are excellent and the comments are kept down to a minimum, so you can enjoy and experience the wildlife in one of the harshest climates in the world.
No, this movie isn't about environmental change. It does show a very fragile environment and yes, due to human induced climate changes this balance can break, but that's about it (on the environmental issue). It tries to show all the glory of the wildlife. It doesn't explain or tell you about it, it shows you and you need to deduct (so if you have no knowledge about wildlife in the first place, no curiosity about anything that's not chip powered - you will be disappointed).
Remember the grand documentaries about the wild life in Africa? This one is actually better. The camera work is remarkable and if you are interested you will learn quite a lot from behavior (for instance: how snoring can kill a pray). Also the natural light shows of the various animals you get to see in the underwater and under-ice world are remarkable. I've never before seen how an octopus lures it's pray instead of catching it and so forth.
But as I claimed before - this one is for nature lovers only, the rest better avoid this (god forbids they'd become environmentally aware).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Following the proud tradition of French Dockumentaries like "Travelling
Birds" Thierry Piantanida and Thierry Ragobert take us on a journey
through the arctic regions.
The images are very beautiful, the scenery breathtaking and seeing the amazing herds of animals pass is something everyone should see, at least once. Overall, a very solid and entertaining look at animal life in the arctic circle.
Minor spoilers follow from here on! Unfortunately the movie lacks coherence. It fails to draw a portrait of the landscape, hopping around wildly and fails to draw a portrait of the arctic animals, making a limited selection but going rather for the images with the most impact than for a fair representation of the species observed. Further the view taken is rather anthropomorphic, putting human traits and characteristics on animals. Admittedly, I am not quite fair to this movie comparing it to the excellent "Travelling Birds", but I was left with the strong feeling that the makers of this documentary attempted to emulate the success of that movie. This and the failure thereof was for me especially noticeable during the scenes with the ice bears. The mother bear was strongly humanized and the drive to include as many spectator drawing pictures as possible quite evident.
Certain scenes like the whale scenes left me with the impression that the film makers ran out of other "impressive" material, so they kind of threw them in...everyone likes whales, right? And this is a nature documentary with some environmental undertones, so we need to have whales, right? Wrong, I would say, these scenes were distracting and ill-fitting with the rest of the film. They were very impressive and beautiful though.
So, finally: I would recommend everyone to see this film once, just for the beauty and impact of the pictures. Ignore the commentary, which is relatively sparse anyway. Do not look for a coherent story or complete picture and don't have too high expectations. Keeping this in mind, you are in for 86 minutes of an entertaining documentary.
I should first admit that I saw this film about a week after watching
the "Ice Worlds" episode of the BBC's Planet Earth series, and perhaps
that set the bar a fair measure higher than usual and contributed to my
negative response to "The White Planet".
But never before have I experienced such disappointment with a nature documentary, and never before have I been able to pinpoint precisely what I didn't like about a film (of any genre).
Firstly: the actual photography. The film's promotional material implores you to see this film on "as big a screen as possible". If the footage was of the quality deserving cinematic projection, then I would agree. Unfortunately, it's not. From what I can gather, the film is a patchy collage of the work of "the world's greatest polar nature filmmakers" - and it shows. Some parts were better than others, but on the whole, the images were grainy, soft, and certainly not as impressive as one would expect from a genre which is fundamentally based on its photography.
Secondly: the editing. No attempt was made to edit narrative sequences together. It's as if they've just picked a whole bunch of shots, and crudely slapped them together with no sense of constructive order. The film jumps from animal to animal (without actually identifying what each is, but that's a narration gripe), without providing any context for the behaviour we are witnessing on screen and therefore rendering most shots fairly meaningless. Oh yes, there's an angry looking polar bear running across the ice - but what is it running from? Or running to? Why is it running at all? Never mind, here are some of those fluorescent jellyfish and other deep sea creatures.
Thirdly: the narration. To be fair, it was not so much a problem with the voice or presentation style of the narrator, as with the sporadic, shallow and sometimes pretentious script. The constant reference to polar bears as "Lords of the Ice Planet", Beluga whales as "Sea Canaries of the White Planet" (and their 'mysterious concert song still that still holds many secrets and mystery')... it all grew a bit tiresome. I also thought that one of the basic purposes of the narration in a film on the weird and wonderful creatures of the far corners of the globe would be to tell you what they are. Polar bears and seals are pretty obvious, but very little information was provided on exactly what other animals we were seeing on screen, or even exactly where we were seeing them (Canada? Alaska? Where???).
Finally: the sound track. It was god awful. Fair enough if they didn't have the money to invest in scoring a symphony orchestra to compliment the vision, but silence would have been better than the mismatched yodelling/chanting/drum beating/interpretive dance type tracks which in no way tied in with the vision on screen. It sounded like they picked a world music compilation CD out of the discount bin and randomly placed tracks along the timeline with complete disregard for the images they were accompanying. Also, I am convinced that they recorded the sound of a child licking a lollipop to use for any scene where a newborn animal (caribou, polar bear, anything) was being licked by its mother.
...maybe all a little harsh, and I really don't like to be so critical, but I have never been so sure of the reasons for my dislike of a film.
I saw this movie in Paris when it first came out. I loved it. The
filming is uncanny and amazing.
I especially liked the filming of the beluga whales. They were ghostly, other-worldly. Although I was aware of many of the animals in the Arctic, I had no idea that there was such diversity and therefore so much to lose due to a warmer planet.
While this movie may or may not show the impacts of global warming in the Arctic, it shows what we stand to lose in the Arctic due to global warming.
I recommend this movie to anyone who might be even slightly interested in the Arctic and wildlife.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found the documentary The White Planet to be an amazing photographic
journey of the arctic and what the world stands to lose should all, or
a significant portion, of the arctic ice melt.
The film followed the lives of selected animals across a year - beginning with winter - including a mother polar bear with newborn cubs, and a large group of caribou. These were interspersed with footage of sea and bird life, including whales, walruses and seals.
The photography was incredible, with both underwater shots and scenes from high above the ground.
The music was haunting, and I felt it was well chosen to accompany each segment of the film.
The message about the future of arctic animals was subtle but still made very clear - these animals stand to lose their way of life if the ice continues to melt.
In summary, the film was exquisite on a large screen, and I will be recommending it to friends.
All I can say is this: This film may be advertised as being about
climate change. It isn't!
Most laughable moment was the shot of walruses sitting around doing nothing when the voice over said "The walruses philosophically await the return of the ice."
Ahh, no they don't. They sit around and belch!
This film was sponsored by WWF. Prime funding for that little organisation comes from climate changer #1 Shell.
Boring, pointless and too many repeated shots.
Official selection for the 2006 Melbourne International Film Festival.
Shows what a sad state the film fest is in.
Avoid at all costs.
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