Planet Earth – TV review

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Though I’m not much of a tree-hugger, I wanted to celebrate Earth Day by mentioning an amazing television series that I’ve started watching. It’s called Planet Earth and it was produced by the BBC. It’s a nature show, but it’s far beyond any of the nature shows I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is incredible, with everything from high zooming aerial shots, watching massive herds move across plains or tundra, to close-ups on animals’ skin, teeth and muscles. The series is also broadcast in high definition, so the visuals have got to be great. The effect is not only that it makes all the scenery around the various regions of the globe look beautiful, but it really gives the viewer a sense of the scale of the natural world out there. There’s footage of sulphuric acid lakes and volcanoes in Africa. These areas are often very remote from any human towns or cities and seeing the camera fly over these landscapes remind us just how much land and space there is on the planet.

Another aspect of this show is the “never before seen” aspect to it. The footage captured is astonishing. Not only do we get to see animals that are very rare in the wild, but also there’s an amazing degree of access: we get to see a mother panda with her week-old cub in the den. I don’t know how the producers and camera people were able to get to those places. That is only even more true about some of the events captured by the camera. One of the most spectacular scenes is of a great white shark leaping completely out of the ocean to catch a seal in its jaws. Another scene captures the dramatic confrontation as eagles hunt a flock of cranes high over the Himalayan mountains. We’re not talking little specs in the distance. Also in the “how’d they do that?” department, they take time lapse photography to the next dimension by somehow panning across beautiful landscapes as the seasons change before our eyes!

I’ve only watched the first two episodes so far, but I’m already (obviously) incredibly impressed. This is a one-of-a-kind series that really provides an awesome perspective on the natural world. The series will be replaying on CBC in June and it’s available on the DVD shelves as well. Happy Earth Day, everyone!

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