"Planet Earth" Great Plains (TV Episode 2006) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)


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Grass - The Most Popular Plant On The Planet!
ccthemovieman-14 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen this particular episode twice, first narrated by Sigourney Weaver for United States television, and then part of this 11-part series narrated by David Attenborough. Both times it was fascinating, encouraging me that multiple viewings of this entire set will be appreciated and enjoyed.

There is a lot of fascinating material in this one, but then, what else would you expect from an area that holds "the greatest gathering of wildlife on Earth?" The heart of this story is grass. That's it: simple, little blade-like plant that literally feeds most of the planet. This "miracle plant," as host David Attenborough tells us, covers one-fourth of the earth and, next to water, is what keeps most animals alive. You can burn it, freeze it, eat it all - whatever - and it keeps coming back.

Great migrations of animals and birds, from elephants to Mongolian gazelles to wildebeests and more are seen in this episode traveling long miles to find it.. Some kind of savanna bird is seen in the most amazing migration you'll ever see in the sky: one-and-a-half billion of them.

Later, the five-million snow geese migration to the Arctic tundra is shown, along with the Caribou headed the same way and the wolves who stalk them for food.

As we head south, we see the fantastic bison of the North American plains. It's nice to hear that they are now recovering after hunters for years had reduced the Buffalo numbers from 60 million to just about a thousand.

Grass can grow really tall, if the conditions are right, we are told. For example, there is "elephant grass" where - naturally - the elephants like to go. A funny short segment shows some kind of bird leaping up and over the tall grass every few seconds trying to get attention for a mate. Throughout this "Planet Earth" series, you'd be amazed at the things you see different male species do to attract the females for mating!

Later - warning - the fun turns 180 degrees and there is fairly long segment that I will not watch again: lions, at night, attacking and eating a small elephants. Lions have fantastic night vision while elephants see as we humans do, meaning not well in the middle of the night in a pitch-dark area.

After that unpleasant scene, we get to see animals and birds enjoy the ultimate: a flooded plain - a bonanza for food and drink.
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Grassland greatness
TheLittleSongbird13 November 2017
Absolutely adore 'Planet Earth', one of the best documentaries ever made and actually is more than that. Have remarked a few times that it and its recent follow up (every bit as good) did for nature and out planet as 'Walking with Dinosaurs' did with the dinosaurs. David Attenborough is widely considered a national treasure for very good reason, no matter how much he himself dislikes the term.

"Great Plains" lives up to its name and actually even exceeds it. It perfectly lives up to the never less than great quality of the previous six episodes of 'Planet Earth' and is a great representation of what Attenborough is all about and what a good documentary should be like. "Great Plains" throughout, as with the previous six episodes and with Attenborough at his best, an awe-inspiring, utterly transfixing experience where one forgets they're watching a documentary and instead feeling like they're watching art. This may sound like extreme hyperbole, but to me and many others 'Planet Earth' is completely deserving of its praise and even deserving of more. To me as well, it is easily one of the best the BBC has done in years.

Where to start with the praises for "Great Plains"? It for starters looks amazing. It is gorgeously filmed, those aerial shots are awe-inspiring, 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 grassland scenery is some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life and the rich colours positively leap out. The music is epic but has just as many quieter moments that speak just as much. The main theme is unforgettable.

Regarding the narrative aspects, "Great Plains" can't be faulted there either. The narration has a great well-balanced mix of facts that will be familiar to the viewer and others that will induce the right amount of surprise. In short, it's just fascinating, informative and thoughtful, have never learnt so much about grass and found myself appreciating it more. Everything is intriguing and illuminating, with as much for children to be inspired by as well as adults, and there is just enough freshness to avoid it from becoming stale. Attenborough delivers it beautifully, there's a soft-spoken enthusiasm and precision about his delivery and he never preaches.

The animals themselves are a wonderful mix of the adorable and the dangerous.and their struggles in the habitat and how they adapt feel very real. What also stands out in "Great Plains" is its sense of awe and emotional impact. The lions and elephants scene is indeed spine-chilling and also quite devastating.

Nothing episodic or repetitive here either. Despite covering a lot, there is a real sense of the episode having its own individual story 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.

Concluding, brilliant once again. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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A voyage through the various grasslands of all over the world
bellino-angelo201428 October 2017
The star of this episode of ''Planet Earth'' is a very special plant: grass, because it can survive snow, fire, water, heat and cold, and it's also a precious food source for many animals! We will travel across the globe: from Mongolia to Africa, from the Arctic tundra to the Asian rain forests, and even from Tibet to North America!

Our journey begins in Mongolia, as we see many Mongolian gazelles migrating and giving birth to their off springs, and an eagle with her nest hidden in the high grass, then a fire bursts, but after this sad scene we see that grass can re-appear from under the ashes. Soon we see two of the greatest animal migrations ever: red billed queleas (6 millions of them) and a massive wildebeest herd!

We then move to the arctic tundra, where a giant flock of geese returns to their nesting sites, and some Arctic foxes try, even succeeding, to steal and kill goose chicks. In the meanwhile a massive caribou herd migrates towards warmer climates, and is also stalked by a couple of wolves that kills a baby caribou separated from his mother. Soon it's the turn of the North American plains, where a massive herd of bisons stops for relaxing and fighting.

We take a brief visit to the flourishing South African welts, with ostriches and antelopes that stroll around peacefully. While in the frozen Tibetan plains we see wild donkeys fighting and a grey fox that kills a pica, the closest relative of the rabbit.

In Asia there is a really tall grass called ''elephant grass'' where elephants use to walk, and it's also used as a nest for pygmy boars; and a bird, called lesser florican, jumps up and down in the hopeless search of a mate!

Our journey ends in Africa, with elephants that stop for drink, and then, a chilling scene: a group of lions that at night kills and then devours young elephants! Then we see awesome footage of the flooded plains in the Okavango delta, a mecca for all animals that search tasty food and fresh water.

It's a great episode, and all goes to: 1) George Fenton's outstanding music 2) David Attenborough's narration 3) The stunning shots of our planet's grasslands and the animals that inhabit them!
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