Animal is the latest four-part nature docu-series on Netflix. While it’s no David Attenborough jaw-dropper, it is a compelling and interesting show nonetheless.
Each episode hones into a different animal group, starting with big cats and moving through to dogs, marsupials and finally centering on the octopus. There’s also a different narrator for each chapter too, starting with Rashida Jones, and then cycling through Bryan Cranston, Rebel Wilson and finally Pedro Pascal. While a neat idea on paper, the execution feels more like throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the wall to see what sticks. Some of this works really well, other times not so much.
The chapters themselves though are pretty good, with each 45 minute episode diving into the history, general social set-up and the challenges each of these species have to face. Personally, the best is left for last, with Pascal’s narration working pretty well to accentuate just how incredible octopus actually are.
The camera work on the whole is beautifully done, and there’s a consistency to the globetrotting through the episodes too. From the lush jungles in Brazil to the waters of Vancouver, the teams working on Animal have done a great job scoping out beautiful locales across the globe. This works alongside the majestic brilliance of these creatures to make a visually pleasing series. The music though, doesn’t quite hit the highs we’ve seen in some of Attenborough’s best, which is perhaps the more disappointing part of the aesthetic.
Next to so many other nature documentary shows, there’s a danger that Animal could get lost in the shuffle. I mean, with a generic name like “Animal” then it’s hardly surprising. Searching for that on IMDB brings up a plethora of options too, and one can’t help but feel a more unique name would have paid dividends.
Anyway, I digress. Animal has a lot of neat and interesting facts, spread out across its run-time, along with a consistent theme throughout, focusing on these different creatures. In a way, it takes inspiration from Seven Worlds One Planet, and expands that out to a group instead.
While the narration is going to be a point of contention for some people, Animal has enough in the tank to make for an enjoyable watch regardless.
The four episodes are well-constructed, beautifully shot and feature a lot of awe-inspiring footage. The problem though comes from originality and it’s difficult to see how Animal will stand out from the pack, especially with such a simple name. We shall see. For now though, Netflix deliver another compelling nature docu-series well worth checking out.
Verdict - 7.5/10