The Hunt (2015)
8.8/10
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Race Against Time (Coasts) 

The coast is home to air, land, and ocean predators, who must all take advantage of what few opportunities exist in this dynamic area shaped by tides and waves.
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Life along the coasts obeys two cycles, the seasons and, particularly, the tides dictated by the lunar pull, so (wild)life must adapt on land, in the water and the air. On these rhythms predators come and go, preys must forage and seek shelter, whether nesting near or scavenging in the surf. Some develop specific hunting tactics, like dolphins causing waves to strand fish on the banks, where birds steal a share. Written by KGF Vissers

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Documentary

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 2016 (USA) See more »

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Coastal hunting
29 December 2017 | 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, 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, 'The Hunt' 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. Like the previous three episodes, "Race Against Time" is brilliant.

First and foremost, "Race Against Time" 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, "Race Against Time" 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 predators, what they do, how they adapt to their environments and why they act that way. Like with a lot of Attenborough, found myself learning a lot despite not being a slouch when it comes to knowledge of these different predators.

Throughout one is reminded that the aim is not to show gratuitous blood and gut to empathise that this is predators we're talking about. Instead the point is made that hunts do fail and the odds are against these predators, doing it without hammering it home or laying it on too thick. "Race Against Time" does a great job with this.

"Race Against Time", like the previous episodes, has scenes that are of great interest, are visually striking and with animals and their behaviours that are enough to take one's breath away. Personal favourite has to be with the macaque in a surprising comic interlude. The stage-diving from the dolphins also looked spectacular and it was fascinating to see a never filmed before Chilean sea otter.

It is expected for Attenborough's narration to help significantly, one isn't disappointed in "Race Against Time" or throughout 'The Hunt'. 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 "behind the scenes/making of" scenes too gave some humanity to the series and allowed us to get to know those behind the camera as well as in front.

The predatory animals are big in personality and wide in range. 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. Found myself really caring for what they're told and the wildlife. Like much of Attenborough/BBC's other work, "Race Against Time" doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries it feels like its 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.

To conclude, this coastal race against time really does thrill. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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