On strong recommendations from friends, my wife and I have been watching Planet Earth, the BBC nature documentary recently broadcast on The Discovery Channel. The cinematography is gorgeous, and I love the insights into animal behavior.
I can’t give the project unequivocal praise, though. The writing is sometimes uneven, and some episodes lack any real unity. Plus, I don’t need to see the polar bear slide down the slope anymore. Three times in seven episodes? Isn’t that a little much?
Certain sequences from this series will stick in my brain forever. Here are a few of them.
The beautiful Angel Falls in Venezuela: “Its waters drop unbroken for nearly 1000 meters. Such is the height of these falls that long before the water reaches the base in Devil’s Canyon, it’s blown away as a fine mist.”
The Himalayan snow leopard, whose mind-blowing agility allows her to hunt on steep and rocky mountain faces.
The starving polar bear who cannot kill a walrus:
(It’s unfortunate that the polar bear clip does not include the entire sequence. He creeps up on the walruses before attacking, for example. Then, at the end, he is mortally wounded and curls up to die having been unable to kill his prey.)
Through the first eight episodes, though, the following sequence is my favorite. It’s the dry season on the plains of Africa, and the elephants and the lions forge an uneasy truce around a watering hole. Until the lions get hungry. Then all bets are off.
This [elephant] looks a little smaller. A solitary lion stands no chance. But the whole pride is here. There are thirty of them, and they’re specialist elephant hunters.
While browsing YouTube, I found footage from National Geographic showing additional lion attacks on elephants in Botswana. (The narration here is over-the-top.)
We still have seven more episodes to watch. I’m sure there’ll be additional footage that I feel compelled to share.