April 25, 2024

Our Planet II Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Spread the love

Our Planet II Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Sitting at home, breath held, earnestly hoping that some tiny animal thousands of miles from your sofa can survive a life-or-death situation: it’s always been one of the eerie pleasures of a wildlife documentary, despite such a reaction being essentially irrational. What does it matter whether that lizard can outrun those snakes? It’s all part of nature. It’s nothing to do with us.

Well, not any more. The scene that sticks in the mind from Our Planet II, Netflix’s new Attenborough-voiced opus, is of an albatross chick on the tiny Pacific island of Laysan, fighting for life without any predators nearby. The little thing’s opening its beak wide and dry-heaving towards the sand. “There is now so much plastic in our oceans that it reaches the most remote islands on Earth,” says Sir David, as we see the beach strewn with incongruously colourful detritus. The peril the chick is trying to survive is whether or not it can sick up a gobbet of indestructible crud its mother mistook for food.

The four new hour-long episodes have plenty more sequences to make you think: heck, what have we done? In the Arctic, a walrus perches on the only floating glacier shard within view, unsure where to go next. A polar bear, knackered by the need to swim much more and walk much less, fails to hunt a bearded seal that’s better at sliding on and off the melting, fractured ice. The theme is migration, as prompted by the changing seasons – but humans have changed how extreme those seasonal shifts are.

It is not all doom – in fact, the environmental warnings are slightly less strident than they were in the first run of Our Planet. We have plenty of wonders still to enjoy. The show’s recurring motif is an unbelievable shot of animals on the move together in staggering numbers. A megaherd of cape buffalo in the Kalahari, filmed from the air and looking like swarming ants; actual swarming army ants, carrying “supersized larvae” to their new forest home; locusts turning the ground yellow as they walk, then undergoing a bristling metamorphosis that makes them even more disquietingly alien, whereupon they turn the sky pink. The locusts’ trip from Sudan to Tibet is illustrated by figures moving on a 3D relief map, a clever visual aid to underline the vastness of the distances that migrating creatures cover.

We have extreme cuteness, too, in the form of a murrelet chick on Vancouver Island who has to trek alone towards the shore, so small it keeps smacking face-first into twigs lying on the ground. That Laysan albatross chick is adorable once it’s recovered from its human-induced choking fit, standing on the beach all ragged and fluffy, gazing out to sea and wondering when to attempt its first flight. It’s seen a young black-footed albatross set off, lose momentum and land on the water, bobbing for a second before being eaten by a tiger shark that has travelled 1,000km for this specific feast. Another black-footed bird is more or less in flight a few inches above the surf, but isn’t going to get far: a tiger shark is chewing on its foot.

Whether our friend will suffer the same fate is the subject of the episode one cliffhanger, a device used throughout the season to persuade us to let the Netflix machine roll on to the next instalment. This seems unnecessarily needy for a prestige wildlife documentary, and it’s awkwardly executed: presumably for the benefit of viewers who might watch episodes in isolation, the next one starts with a recap that repeats the information binge-watchers have just been given. Elsewhere, there is the odd moment where the footage doesn’t feel new enough: everyone’s familiar by now with lions working to isolate a weak buffalo/wildebeest, but we see that old drama play out twice, alongside similar sequences of orca v whale, arctic fox v snow goose and crocodile v zebra.

But these are quibbles, brought on by how spoiled we’ve been by previous landmark natural history shows. Take a step back and so much of Our Planet II is astonishing: a drone camera mimicking a homeless bee swarm’s hunt for a new nesting place, checking out the holes in various trees, is one of many times we’re reminded what a precious honour it is to see such sights.

These creatures are precious indeed, and Our Planet II tries to see hope in places where humans have shown some awareness of their responsibilities as tenants-in-common of Earth. The antelope whose ancestral migration routes have been blocked by barbed-wire fences protecting US oil and gas fields, for example, have at least had bridges built for them so they can cross our lethal four-lane highways. It’s the least we can do.

Our Planet II Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online