David Attenborough’s Dynasties Episode 2 Impressions


March Of The Penguins

Last week took us to the lush jungles to watch David’s tumultuous reign in the world of the chimpanzees. Dynasties’ second episode sees us journey to the frozen wasteland of the Antarctic for an intimate look at the Emperor Penguins. For anyone familiar with previous Attenborough documentaries, this extraordinary species have been shown before and their journey well documented. Despite this, unique camera work and some impressive cinematography make it worth re-watching to see these magnificent creatures survive the cruellest of winters.

Whereas last week we followed one chimpanzee and their tumultuous ride to cling to power, the second episode changes focus and follows the entire penguin colony. While some may lament this changed focus, it does help to gain some unique shots and follow the incredible feats of endurance these penguins make for their chicks. From harsh winds of over 100km per hour to plummeting temperatures of -100 degrees, Emperor penguins endure some of the harshest conditions on Planet Earth.

If you thought last week was emotional, this week is a real heartbreak. From stolen chicks and grieving parents to penguins stuck down a deep chasm, the camera crew of Dynasties capture some really harrowing and upsetting scenes this time around.

We mentioned earlier about the technicality of shots and this second episode does an amazing job bringing the penguin colony to life in stunning detail. From intimate close-up shots of an offspring nestled in the pouch of its parents to incredible time-lapse scenes showing the constantly moving colony as it braces the polar storms, BBC once again show why it’s the king of nature documentaries.

Much like last week, the episode ends with an “On Location” segment; a 10 minute chunk of time dedicated to the crew. It’s here where we really see how dedicated those who have made this show really are, braving the elements for months on end to capture some of the most impressive shots of Emperor Penguins ever captured on-screen. Perhaps the most controversial moment comes from the crew’s decision to help the trapped penguins in the chasm. While personally I believe this was the humane and right thing to do, it is understandable that these things do happen in nature and perhaps the crew should have left the penguins to their fate.

The changed focus this week to show the entire colony of a species rather than one specific animal is something that does feel a little similar to previous nature documentaries. For those who have seen Frozen Planet or Planet Earth, some of the content here will be overly familiar. Despite this, Dynasties manages to inject a raw emotion into its story as we follow the penguin colony through an entire year. Some of the cinematography is truly breathtaking too and much like Blue Planet II before it, these documentaries just seem to get better and better over time. With a teasing glimpse of what’s to follow, Dynasties looks set to be another hit for the BBC, even if this week’s episode isn’t quite as impressive as the first.

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