Explore the majesty and splendor that is the Antarctic. Home to approximately 7 trillion penguins. Per square foot.
Narrated by environmentalist and author David Suzuki
Birds, penguins, seals…their lives and natural habitat are explored in high-definition.
I’m a pretty big fan of nature documentaries, especially stuff like Planet Earth or really anything National Geographic or The Discovery Channel puts out. You never appreciate how beautiful things really are until you sit and watch one of these nature documentaries. This isn’t the best I’ve seen, simply because there might be TOO much focus on the environmental impact and not enough on the actual creatures themselves. Make no mistake, though: there is no agenda here. It’s just full of facts that are being laid out for us to think on without forcing it down our throats. This is a French-Canadian production, and as such some of the researchers on the expedition do not speak English. Instead of merely giving us subtitles since apparently we aren’t intelligent enough to read them, there’s a pretty awkward dub placed over certain speaking parts. Which is okay, because there aren’t very many speaking parts aside from the narration and some of the British researchers on Bird Island (a South Georgian island in British territory, named for the fuckton of birds that inhabit it), but I would have preferred subtitles. That could just be me.
When the documentary does focus on the creatures, things range from fascinating to mildly interesting. I thought it was pretty cool seeing two elephant seals fighting over territory on a beach. They got pretty bloodied up and one of them backed off in quite the hilarious manner. But holy crap, my mouth fell open on several occasions when the breadth of penguins on Bird Island was pointed out. The camera kept panning out at one point showing the amount of penguins on one very large beach, and I just couldn’t believe it. I actually felt pretty bad when a penguin was shown losing his balance and upon falling and not being able to get back up, he was then pecked to death by birds while his fellow penguins looked on with utter indifference. There is no loyalty in the cruel, harsh penguin society. Happy Feet? Not exactly. The albatross is focused on, and this is a pretty beautiful, fascinating creature who can fly around the globe in search of food and rarely ever have to land if it doesn’t want to.
As previously stated, there is a fairly big focus in this series on the effect that global warming and climate change have on the many species that inhabit Antarctica. We see these effects firsthand, whether it’s the penguin corpses that line the beaches on Bird Island, or the glaciers and icebergs falling apart before the film crew’s lenses. You can’t exactly stage something like that for dramatic effect, so obviously there are some real problems on our planet that most of us just pass off as myth but is really, truly happening.
So this is a nice series, one that explores some real beauty and discusses some serious issues. It isn’t quite as memorable as some of the flashier nature documentaries in recent years, but it is certainly worth your time.
As bare bones as they come, but the transfer is crystal clear and beautiful. You can practically feel the feathers on the birds.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars