From the good old days (2006) when the BBC gave us the smashing (and most
expensive in its time) TV documentary series "Planet Earth" to this 2017
update, "Planet Earth 2" viewers are in for another treat of high-definition,
extraordinarily inventive camerawork capturing the diversity of wild animals
and other critters employing their strategies to remain alive in our shared
The theme running through the presentation is the preservation of life for
prey and predator, with starvation an ever-present threat. Animal populations
are broken down by sorts of places: remote islands, great plains, caves, ice
worlds, desserts, the seas, shallow and deep, mountains and, even, cities.
The accomplishment of what's seen here are the camera crews that produce
footage that testifies to their utter devotion to this documentary genre. It
includes spending a month among the cockroaches on a guano mound and
employing ingenious techniques and equipment. The photography, which captures
story arcs and extreme close-ups one might think would unsettle the subject
are beyond expectation. One, such device called a Heligimbal, a
gyro-stabilized camera mounted beneath a helicopter. There might have been a
camera drone or two, as well.
Also prized among the elements that make this series sequel so effective is
the narration by David Attenborough and the way he introduces us to creatures
and habitats on a scale and penetration not seen before.
I appreciated how he deftly kept his silence when what was happening
on screen (life or death battles, ambushes, turf challenges, etc.) demanded
absorbed witness to moments of stunning drama -- before he would wrap up a
sequence with the excellent and brief end clincher.
For the nature addict, this is must-see material. It's likely to turn everyone
else into fans of Darwin.
~~ Jules Brenner