Whether we want to admit it or not, our planet is changing. From climate change and melting ice caps through to bleaching coral reefs and animals teetering on the verge of extinction, Our Planet is a constant reminder of the damaging impact humans have had on this planet. Armed with some gorgeous cinematography, breathtaking camera work and 8 diverse episodes, Netflix deliver a fantastic documentary, easily rivaling some of the best in this category.
Split across 8 episodes and narrated by national treasure David Attenborough, Our Planet begins with an introduction to the sheer diversity offered on our planet. Serving as a taster for what’s to come, this globe-trotting episode hops from the salt plains of Africa across to the lush rainforests in South America, eventually stumbling into the arctic. All of which ending with a timely reminder of what’s happening on our planet. From here, the following 7 episodes then dive much more deeply into different issues affecting the various areas across the world whilst serving as a celebration of the diversity offered on our planet.
It’s long been established that our wildlife eco-system hinges on a very delicate balance between prey and predator. From climate change in the frozen ice-caps through to the impact humans have had on our marine life, Our Planet is both a celebration of our planet’s beauty and a reminder of how this balance is in serious jeopardy.
In a way, this is a far more bittersweet series than both Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II, dedicating a lot more of its run time to discussing the dangers and perils our wildlife faces every day. Of course, this isn’t wholly original territory; Dynasties dedicated a good chunk of its time to this topic and both the aforementioned Planet series’ did this too. Having said that, there’s far more emphasis and urgency around this topic through the series and it certainly shows.
Given the absolutely incredibly cinematography and masterful use of both colour and composition throughout the series, it’s a little disappointing that the “On Location” segments of the BBC documentaries don’t make an appearance here. Whilst I do appreciate Netflix are a completely different animal, I really enjoyed the spotlight being shone on those behind the camera and watching how long it takes to get the perfect shots. This is even more apparent given some of the amazing camera work on display and I just wish we got to see some of the faces responsible for these shots.
Our Planet is a beautifully written, important documentary series that offers some truly breathtaking scenes. The masterful storytelling and narration of David Attenborough returns, and the balance between lighthearted, playful shots of the animals with more serious trials and tribulations each species face is perfectly balanced. Our Planet is quite simply an amazing, breathtaking series and one of the best nature documentaries ever made.
Verdict - 10/10