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Cinema Signal: A no-holds-barred mini-series on the natural world and animals' battles to stay alive. State of the art in high-def for TV and blu-ray. Green light. MOBILE version |
. "Planet Earth 2"

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 world.

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.

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                                                                              ~~  Jules Brenner  

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