The main attraction here was the Komodo dragon. The story begins with them, and ends with them. They rare existing only on five small islands in the world and are "the largest lizards on Earth." They are scary-looking creatures and if you are averse to seeing creatures kill other animals who might want to avoid the the last five minutes of this episode. It's a little rough seeing one, and then a half dozen dragons kill off a water buffalo over a space of six days. Why some of these "nature shows" insist on showing these bloody scenes in graphic detail is beyond me.
Whatever, the rest of this "Life" episode, the second one in this new BBC series, lets us observe some colorful creatures, from tiny Geckos to waterfall toads, Madagascar's Panther Chameleons to giant bullfrogs to a variety of birds which do not fly. We learn why cold-blooded reptiles like crocodiles, which were on earth 200,000,000 million years ago, according to the narrator, need sun in order to move about.
We witness the magnificent Bralizian Rain Forest which has so many unique creatures it would you head spin. One thing about this series, as its predecessor did, it gives you spectacular close-up photography and gorgeous colors of creatures and the landscapes they inhabit.
These photographers have guts, too. At the very end, they show a group of them right near the dragon, just a few feet away. It's a wonder the lizard didn't suddenly attack them.
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Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.
Am a great fan of a lot of Attenborough's work and BBC's nature documentaries with his involvement are among their best work in years. Have been watching the BBC less over time, but there are always exceptions, unexpected gems and expected treasures that come our way every now and again and their nature documentaries are the perfect examples of expected treasures. 'Life' is a crowning achievement for a documentary series and actually, like the best documentary shows, feels much more than that. As far as Attenborough's work goes too, 'Life' to me is one of his biggest achievements.
"Reptiles & Amphibians" follows on from the wonderful first episode "Challenges of Life" just as wonderfully.
It may explore the challenges of survival for animals, but for the viewer watching it's an awe-inspiring delight from start to finish.
First and foremost, "Reptiles & Amphibians" is exceptionally well-made. Hardly surprising, one comes to expect that from Attenborough's work. In fact saying that doesn't do the production values justice. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery and various habitats are remarkably diverse and look speechlessly spectacular.
On a documentary level, "Reptiles & Amphibians" continually fascinates and illuminates, while there are some familiar facts here a lot of it was very much new. By the end of the series for me more was gotten out of it, and educated me much more than, anything taught when studying Geography and Science in secondary school.
Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.
The wildlife and life-forms are both adorable and dangerous, the wide-ranging diversity of what was included was staggering and it was lovely to see a mix of the familiar and the not-so-familiar. How they adapt to their environments, why they behave the way they do, how nature works and how what the wildlife and life-forms do affects their environments were all touched upon and made their points subtly, not hammering it home too much (a potential danger with documentaries).
Particularly making a startling impression are the Komodo dragons, genuinely scary they are with scenes like with the buffalo that will stay with one forever.
Not once does "Reptiles & Amphibians" feel like an episodic stringing of scenes like it easily could have been. Instead it feels like its own story and journey, with real, complex emotions and conflicts and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several. One really cares for what they're told and the wildlife.
In conclusion, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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