David Attenborough - Presenter:
At a time when it's possible for thirty people to stand on the top of Everest in one day, Antarctica still remains a remote, lonely and desolate continent. A place where it's possible to see the splendours and immensities of the natural world at its most dramatic and, what's more, to witness them almost exactly as they were, long, long before human beings ever arrived on the surface of this planet. Long may it remain so.
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As said many times, David Attenborough is 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. Is 'Life in the Freezer' among the best and most ground-breaking work Attenborough has ever done? No, but even when Attenborough was not at his very best he and the programmes in question still put most other documentaries to shame. The final part is not quite as interesting as the rest and didn't quite feel as relevant, can understand the tacked on part. Nonetheless the exploration of early Antarctica did inform and engage but the making of the series parts didn't feel needed.
However, 'Life in the Freezer' is outstanding everywhere else. First and foremost, 'Life in the Freezer' looks amazing. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (in a way where one feels closer to the animals) way and one actually has to check as to whether it was made for TV because the production values are so cinematic. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery is stunningly majestic. The music also has a cinematic quality that doesn't overbear what's going on, instead enhancing the impact and sounding beautiful as music in its own right.
Again, like so many Attenborough nature/wildlife documentaries, 'Life in the Freezer' 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. Fans of penguins like me will be in heaven, my heart melted every time they appeared.
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. As hoped, what we're told is detailed, comprehensive and very honest.
Loved the animals as expected, caring for them in the same way that one would a human. There's as always a wide range of emotions from tense conflict, awe and tear-jerking pathos.
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.
In conclusion, another wonderful Attenborough gem. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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