David Attenborough examines the ecology and biodiversity of each of Earth's major biomes, and warns of the dangers of humanity's current industrial life. Camera work is extraordinary, and all continents are visited at least once.Written by
Jason A. Cormier
Additional item included on the UK DVD is "The Making of the Living Planet". Presented by Miles Kington it shows the trials and tribulations of the film crew in capturing animal behavior together with a humorous interview with David Attenborough (at around 39 mins) See more »
David Attenborough is nothing short of a national treasure. He may apparently dislike the term, but it is hard to not say that about such a great presenter who has contributed significantly to some of the best programmes (of the documentary genre and overall) the BBC has ever aired/produced.
It is really hard picking favourites, let alone a definite favourite, among what Attenborough has done because he has done so many gems, it is the equivalent of trying to choose your favourite ice cream flavour or your favourite operatic role (for examples) and finding you can't pick. To me though, 'The Living Planet' is not just one of Attenborough's best and most ground-breaking it's also one of the best documentaries of its kind ever viewed by me. It has everything that makes so much of his work so wonderful, hence some of the reiteration of my recent reviews for some of his work (being on a nature documentary binge in my spare time), and deserves everything great that has been said about it.
First and foremost, 'The Living Planet' looks amazing. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the invertebrates), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic with some of the shots being unique for a documentary series, making one forget that it is a series. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery of all the continents is pure magic.
The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.
Again, like so many Attenborough nature/wildlife documentaries, 'The Living Planet' fascinates, teaches, moves, entertains and transfixes. In terms of the facts there was a very good mix of the known ones and the unknown, some facts being familiar to us while also dealing with very complex and very much relevant issues with tact.
Narration by Attenborough helps significantly. 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 "behind the scenes/making of" scenes too gave some humanity to the series and allowed us to get to know those behind the camera as well as in front.
'The Living Planet' is not just notable for looking amazing and being informative. It also displays a wide range of emotions and found myself really caring for everything that was shown to us on screen. The conflict has genuine tension and suspense, there is some fun and a lot of emotionally powerful moments done with a lot of tear-jerking pathos. Found myself really caring for what we're told.
Like much of Attenborough/BBC's other work, each episode doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries each feels like their own story and journey, with real, complex emotions and conflicts.
Overall, awe inspiring and a requirement for Attenborough fans. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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