For the first time ever, Netflix has invested in an exclusive nature documentary. The streaming giants haven’t started small and commissioned 600 cameramen to get up close with animals in over 50 different countries across a four-year span. And who better to voice such a high budget series than David Attenborough himself?
Each episode of Our Planet is set in a unique type of environment. We are taken to the world’s most vibrant jungles, its forests, water systems and even to its coldest regions. Each type of habitat is filled will delightful surprises from colorful birds to big cats and penguins. As always, the production of the Attenborough series is spectacular. Each shot is meticulously crafted and we often forget that we are watching a show filmed and produced by humans. It feels like we are live in the jungle or the desserts, witnessing life happening firsthand.
Unfortunately, Our Planet is as troubling as it is beautiful. The ecosystems which we watch in awe are the very same ecosystems which are in peril thanks to human activity. In one scene, we witness the stunning lifeforce in a Madagascan jungle. Attenborough concludes the sequence with the declaration that: “Since these pictures were recorded, this forest, and the unique life it once contained, have disappeared altogether.”
Even more troubling was the beach in Russia, littered with walruses who have been forced to rest their thanks to the melted sea ice. The walruses must get back to the sea to fetch fish to feed their young. Unfortunately, a walrus’s eyesight is not so good and the jump from the cliff ends with a litter of broken bodies on the beach floor. It is difficult to watch but it is essential that you do.
Although the series is serious and does not beat around the bush, it is so much more than eight hours of “climate change is bad”. The producers craftily remind us of the beauty of the planet, forcing us to fall in love with the creatures who live here. Once we are lulled into a spin of admiration, it is revealed what we are doing to the ecosystems being celebrated. The title of the show itself reinforces that it is our duty to take responsibility for our actions. It is our planet, after all, only we are the dangerous predators with the power to adapt our nature to protect the innocent.
Overall, the series is a must-watch, regardless of your previous interest in nature documentaries. The show’s message is of the utmost importance and your mind will be blown by the beauty of the planet as you are reminded of why it is essential you protect it.