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, it is the equivalent of trying to choose your favourite ice cream flavour or your favourite operatic role (for examples) and finding you can't pick. To me though, 'Life Story' 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. 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.
What is always great about Attenborough is no matter familiar the themes are and how many times he does them, there is a knack for still making them interesting, a freshness and approaching these themes from a different angle. This can be seen in "Parenthood", which sees another amazing quality often seen in Attenborough's work of feeling relatable and relevant to a human, with its very human theme that most people go through, despite it being centred around animals.
An obvious starting point in praising "Parenthood" is the production values. Simply put, "Parenthood" 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. 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, similarly really admired the wide-ranging diversity of the different landscapes rather than restricting it to just one habitat. The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.
Again, like so many Attenborough nature/wildlife documentaries, "Parenthood" fascinates, teaches, moves, entertains and transfixes. 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 and the challenges they face.
Narration and presenting 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. Really cared for what was behind the camera as well as the front.
The animals are big in personality and very diverse. The conflict has genuine tension and suspense, there is some fun and a lot of emotionally powerful moments done with a lot of tear-jerking pathos.
Like much of Attenborough's other work, "Parenthood" doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries it feels like own story and journey, 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.
Overall, wonderful once again. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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