Planet Earth II online movie review - Stunning in the access it provides, the information it conveys, and the technology used. A little prone to anthropomorphism, but hard to begrudge that
David Attenborough and the BBC combined are really now the summer blockbuster of the nature documentary. Huge budgets, great footage, and plenty of entertainment as part of the total package; and of course this sequel is no exception.
Taking its focus as a different ecosystems ? from forests to deserts to cities ? the series shows plenty of fascinating creatures, and in plenty of detail.
It would be easy to be jaded by how well and how often the BBC has produced these type of outings, but still it manages to fascinate. The heart of the show is to give us access to things that we will never see for ourselves, and perhaps nobody may ever see if we continue to impact as we are. In doing this the series spins together narratives really well; mostly they are based in hard fact ? and I like that it does not shy away from the less cuddly aspects of nature. Frequently there is an embracing of the comical which also works well ? the sight of birds jumping up above the high grass in their mating ritual was great. At times the show does anthropomorphize in the pursuit of this story approach; so editing together a fight like an action sequence, or suggesting that they always capture the same animal in the same sequence rather than finding it in the editing suite. However these moments also work, and it is hard to begrudge it this since it does add to the accessibility and the entertainment value. Hans Zimmer's score, while effective and fitting the majestic tone, does add to this feeling too.
The proximity to the subjects is also amazing; in some cases I really didn't want to know how they did it since it seems almost too ordinary to watch people lying in hides, controlling drones, or setting up motion detection equipment. However it is far from ordinary and the results are great. The series is stunning in many ways, and it offers a lot ? but mostly it is the wide access it offers to a lot of viewers to learn and engage with the natural world, its wonders, and the challenges facing it; Attenborough brings out plenty of people like me, who would not watch the nature channel on a whim but would make an effort for this ? and it rewards that crowd with something as great as this.