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Am a big fan of nature documentaries, especially the work of David Attenborough. Having been recommended 'Wildest Arctic' on here while being on a documentary binge, 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.
'Wildest Arctic' may not be among the best documentaries there is and falls short just of masterpiece and piece of art status. It is still excellent, its best parts actually feeling much more than just a documentary. Throughout it's an awe-inspiring, utterly transfixing experience that should have lasted longer than the four episodes it had.
Occasionally the sound is underpowered and affects a little the clarity of what is being told to us in the narration and the narration is not always harmonious with the images, but there is not much to complain about otherwise.
It is hard knowing when to start with the praise. 'Wildest Arctic' for starters may lack the cinematic quality of some other documentaries but nonetheless looks amazing. 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. 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 find little to fault 'Wildest Arctic' 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, 'Wildest Arctic' managed to intrigue and illuminate, and there is a freshness to the material, not feeling derivative of anything. The narration is delivered articulately by Paul McGann, 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. Seeing them adapting to, surviving and interacting with their habitats is fascinating 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.
In all the four episodes, 'Wildest Arctic' feels much more than a series and it doesn't feel episodic or repetitive. The episodes instead feel 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.
Concluding, excellent if not quite exceptional. 9/10 Bethany Cox
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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