BBC Planet Earth (2006) Narrated by David Attenborough
The BBC’s “Planet Earth” is truly one of the most amazing documentary series ever made about the planet we live on. This series takes a rather different approach to Sir David Attenborough‘s previous “Life” series; here instead of taking a species or group, it explores a particular biome or habitat. This, however, is not so much a geological study of the Earth but rather a broad survey of the rarely seen or visited habitats and their animal inhabitants, with an emphasis on how they adapt to the forces of natural world around them. Coverage is by no means exhaustive (although how could it be?), and at times it looks a little like they are showing off spectacular scenery more than showing a systematic study of a species, but what is presented is truly remarkable and breathtaking. The series is unusual in that it rarely pauses for too long on any one subject, meaning you are really getting as much as possible packed into every episode.
Sir David Attenborough is, as always, wonderful. His perfectly measured commentary and the technical brilliance of the production truly make this series, in my opinion, the pinnacle of achievement in wildlife television to date.
I simply love it and would recommend it to anyone interested in wildlife and the planet we live on. The box set makes for a breathtaking lot of viewing, which I re-watch again and again, and it makes for a great present! (Mine was a present and what a really great one! Thank you again – you know who you are!)
GRIZZLY MAN (2005) Written and Directed by Werner Herzog
This is a documentary on the life and ultimately the death of grizzly bear activist Timothy Treadwell, who was killed in October 2003 with his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, while living with wild grizzly bears in Alaska. It is a touching and poignant film which gives many insights into a trouble persons psyche. Although the focus of the film is on Timothy Treadwell himself it also contains some amazing footage of grizzly bears and other Alaskan wildlife. On occasions the film can labour a point, but overall his relationship with characters such as “Sprit” and “Mr. Chocolate” has to be seen to be believed!
Gorillas in the Mist (1988) Directed by Micheal Apted and Starring Sigourney Weaver
Gorillas in the Mist tells the true life story of American naturalist Dian Fossey, who devoted many years of her life to studying and protecting the rare Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. Dian Fossey ultimately paid the highest price for her devotion to these animals when she was sadly and mysteriously murdered on 27th December 1983. The film is a great advert for conservation and anti poaching agendas, which can only be a good thing, but the film perhaps lacks depth in bringing the character of Dian Fossey truly to life, she can appear sometimes one dimensional in some scenes. That said it is a very moving film, the interaction between Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas, human and animal, creating a real sense of suspense and even awe. Sigourney Weaver won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Dian Fossey, for me however the true stars of the show are the Mountain Gorillas themselves.