Pin It
Favorite

Life 

The creators of Planet Earth bring Life to life.

click to enlarge art15202.jpg

Life picks up where the groundbreaking Planet Earth series left off. Produced by the same people at the BBC — and with the same painfully patient, high-definition filming approach — this 10-part series (aired on Discovery starting in November) focuses on the struggle among animals and plants to live, to adapt, to compete, to eat. The project — filmed over three years, on all seven continents, using 70 camera crews to shoot 200 different species — is, while not as shockingly novel as its forebear, still spectacular.

Take a seemingly simple scene in the “Birds” episode, in which the male Vogelkop Bowerbird constructs a decorative tableau from beetles, dung, lowers and sticks in order to woo a mate. It’s charming, yes. It was also nearly impossible to film, requiring a photographer to spend three weeks in a tiny tent, waiting for just the right shot.

The “Primates” episode features one of the most unbelievable shots in the series, as we see a bug silhouetted on the opposite side of a backlit palmetto frond, then watch as the shadow of a spectral tarsier appears in the distance and pounces down upon the hapless insect. Perfectly timed, perfectly framed.

Constantly, you ind yourself asking, “How did they get that shot?” How could they have been there at the exact moment when the pebble toad tumbled down that cliff? When the chameleon launched its long tubular tongue to snatch that dragonfly?

You’ll ind some answers in the extensive behind-the-scenes footage. Patience is one. Technology — both high and low — is another. A soaring aerial shot through a forest canopy was made possible by some cable and a couple of bicycle wheels. A 60-second shot portraying an English forest’s yearlong growth cycle, on the other hand, took two years, 96 layers of digital footage and a TV studio covered in blue screens.

Almost as unbelievable as all this? Asking Oprah Winfrey to narrate the American version. If you’re going to spend 10 hours exploring the planet with the BBC, spend them with the British version’s far more regal David Attenborough.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • A Load of Scrat
  • A Load of Scrat

    Ice Age: Collision Course continues a franchise that keeps going only because it can
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Cats and Dogs
  • Cats and Dogs

    The Secret Life of Pets is a pure joy of the imagination
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • Ain't Afraid of 
No Feminism
  • Ain't Afraid of No Feminism

    The Ghostbusters reboot dishes out laughs with a new team of ghoul chasers
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Parker Millsap, Travis Linville

Parker Millsap, Travis Linville @ The Bartlett

Mon., July 25, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Joel Smith

Most Commented On

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation