Wild China (2008– )
8.5/10
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Beyond the Great Wall 

China's heartland with its Han people is the centre of a 5,000-year-old civilization. This land contains the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and Beijing's Olympic Stadium, and it's home ... See full summary »

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China's heartland with its Han people is the centre of a 5,000-year-old civilization. This land contains the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and Beijing's Olympic Stadium, and it's home to some of China's most charismatic creatures such as the giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, and golden takin. China has undergone significant development in the past 50 years, bringing many environmental problems. But the relationship of the Chinese to their environment and its creatures is in fact deep, complex, and extraordinary. We will explore this ancient relationship and understand what it means for the future of China. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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1 June 2008 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

 
In China's heartland
15 June 2018 | by See all my reviews

Am a big fan of nature documentaries, especially the work of David Attenborough. Having been recommended 'Wild China' through Amazon and here, it was instantly put down on my list as a must see. Also heard nothing but praise for it, which has nearly always been a good sign, so that further sparked interest.

'Wild China' is as good as others have said and there is not much to add, actually feeling much more than just a documentary. Throughout it's 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 'Wild China' is completely deserving of its praise and even deserving of more.

Once again 'Wild China' has another winner in its fourth episode "Beyond the Great Wall".

It is hard knowing when to start with the praise. "Beyond the Great Wall" for starters looks amazing, reasons enough to make book a trip to see the more naturalistic parts of China. 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 scenery and habitats are some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life. The rich colours just leap out and the scenery from this part of the world has rarely looked more beautiful. The music here is a remarkably good fit, throughout it not only complements the visuals but enhances them and there is an authentic flavour to it.

What of the narrative and information aspects? Can't fault "Beyond the Great Wall" in this aspect 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.

From start to finish, "Beyond the Great Wall" managed to intrigue and illuminate, and there is a freshness to the material, not feeling derivative of anything. The narration is delivered articulately by Bernard Hill, there's an enthusiasm and precision about the delivery and it never feels preachy and always lets the scenery and such speak for itself.

The wildlife themselves are a wonderful mix of the adorable and the dangerous, and one actually finds they're rooting for them in exactly the same way they would a human character. Not just that we also see how humanity interacts and adapts which was just as great and interesting to watch. There is a good deal of suspense and emotional impact. There are some scenes where one is amazed that they managed to be filmed in the first place.

"Beyond the Great Wall" feels much more than an episode of a series and it doesn't feel episodic or repetitive. It instead feels like their own story, without being too reliant on that approach, with real, complex emotions and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several.

Overall, wondrous in every regard. Not to be missed. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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