The Life of Mammals (2002–2003)
8.2/10
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1 user 1 critic

The Social Climbers 

David Attenborough continues his documentary series. He looks at monkeys from all over the world, including red howler monkeys in Venezuela, capuchin monkeys in the Costa Rican swamps, and guenon monkeys in West Africa.
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
David Attenborough ... Himself - Presenter
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Storyline

David Attenborough continues his documentary series. He looks at monkeys from all over the world, including red howler monkeys in Venezuela, capuchin monkeys in the Costa Rican swamps, and guenon monkeys in West Africa.

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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Release Date:

29 January 2003 (UK) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Primate life
5 March 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

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. To me though, 'The Life of Mammals' is up there with his crowning achievements and one of the best documentaries ever viewed, and as has been said already there are a lot of great ones. For documentaries on mammals, 'The Life of Mammals' is one of the quintessential ones and a milestone too in this regard. 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.

'The Life of Mammals' is with "The Social Climbers" on its penultimate episode, and yet again it is an episode that does nothing to dampen the exceptionally high standard of the series it comes from. 'The Life of Mammals' is consistent in the best of ways and that is still maintained in "The Social Climbers".

First and foremost, "The Social Climbers" looks wonderful. 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 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 is pure magic.

The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.

Like any episode of any Attenborough documentary, "The Social Climbers" is fascinating, entertaining and emotionally impactful, leaving one riveted for the whole 50 minutes it lasts. 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 going into detail about the different animals, how they evolved, their behaviours and how they adapt.

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 Social Climbers" doesn't ever feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, instead feeling like its own story (as has been said about Attenborough's work many times by me already), with real, complex emotions and conflicts.

Summing up, yet more brilliance from Attenborough and a milestone study on mammals. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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