The effects of global warming on parts of the polar regions are already obvious, but varied, hard to study, let alone predict, and geographically diverse, albeit with global impact. Some specialized species are under grave threat, others can adapt or even extend their area.Written by
Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.
Attenborough has done so many treasures over his long and remarkably consistent career (even his lesser work is still good) that picking a favourite is not easy. 'Frozen Planet' is one of those treasures, perhaps not as ground-breaking as something like 'Life on Earth' and anybody who was familiar beforehand with 'Planet Earth' may find themselves not finding much truly innovative. Having said that, it left me in the same amount of awe as when watching that series, both 'Planet Earth' series and 'Blue Planet' (am loving the second series too). It is a shame that despite being one of IMDb's highest rated shows, the ratings here for each episode individually has such a wide divide between them and that for the show overall. To me, the series overall is wholly deserving of its acclaim and the individual episodes are rated far too low.
'Frozen Planet's' last and most controversial episode "On Thin Ice" may be my least favourite. The previous six episodes illuminated and educated me more (the information they presented too seemed firmer and more objective) as well as connected with me more on an emotional level. Having said that, although it is easy to see why it is controversial (the subject matter of global warming plays a large part in this) both in presentation of the subject and with controversy with whether it would air or not, it is still a great if sombre way to end an exceptional series.
Said in my review for 'Frozen Planet' that it transfixed, fascinated, moved and educated me more than any other documentary seen in a long time and is an example of how documentaries should be done. Still stand by that. Likewise with saying that one forgets they're watching a documentary and instead feeling like they're watching art.
Visually, like all the 'Frozen Planet' episodes and all of Attenborough's work, "On Thin Ice" looks wonderful. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The polar region scenery is some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life, also like characters of their own. The behind the scenes stuff gives a touch of honesty and humanity.
George Fenton's music score soars majestically, rousing the spirits while touching the soul. It not only complements the visuals but enhances them to a greater level. Some of my favourite work from him in fact, coming from someone who's liked a lot of what he's done. The main theme is unforgettable.
"On Thin Ice" is very thought-provoking, will surely ensure and has ensured much debate, and raises some interesting questions and points about a divisive yet very much relevant and important subject without being some heavy-handed environmental sermon. Although an opportunity was missed exploring the cause of the loss of Arctic sea ice, the retreat of glaciers and the break-up and dispersal of colossal Antarctic ice shelves the episode did help me understand global warming more, its effects, how it affects the environment and what can be done to address it. Some may find this episode out of place within the series, and it sort of is being the odd one out, but this didn't matter to me.
Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, 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.
It's a beautifully structured and paced episode as well.
Overall, a sombre but great ending and shows that quality has not thinned. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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