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Human Planet

by on April 27, 2011
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Years ago, people were captivated by the nature documentary “Planet Earth.” The creators behind that followed up that spectacle with “Life,” and once again, people were entranced — at least by the version without Oprah’s narration. Now the team has returned once again to give us “Human Planet.”

The premise is that humans are the only creature on Earth to exist in every habitat. The series takes eight episodes to look at various parts of the planet where people experience intense and amazing feats on a regular basis. For example, in the “Arctic” episode, there is a man who lassoed a shark from under the ice and then used his dogs to help bring the fish onto the surface.

The highlight of the series is still the way it’s filmed. Every frame is awe-inspiring. The filmmaking seems to be a blend of very lucky shots and an incredible eye for the greater picture. It’s a thing of beauty with the way they are able to frame the people among the most cinematic locations on the planet. Sometimes they are small and seem ill-equipped with their surroundings, and sometimes they feel naturally in sync with their settings.

The reason why this series does not match up to the others is because this doesn’t feel as definitive as the others. Obviously the entire planet was not covered by the first series, but this works like a nice season of “This American Life.” It’s an insight into very cool professions and lifestyles, but obviously the most cinematic ones are the ones who are going to be covered.

The whole show is very likable. John Hurt is very strong as the narrator and they don’t force too much of a narrative on their events. Saying that a moment is life or death may seem cheesy, but showing their footage of a man fighting the elements validates that phrasing.

The Blu-ray looks gorgeous, but the strength of the visuals makes this a recommended viewing on standard DVD as well.

One of the strongest parts of each episode is their “Behind the Lens” finale. They spend a few minutes showing the documentarians behind the camera and how difficult it was to capture all of the moments seen in the show. Hurt continues to narrate these portions, which doesn’t just make it feel like the filmmakers praising themselves. Getting themselves into those impossible situations is a feat worthy of their thesis. These is one of them at the end of every episode, as well as two additional entries.

Series: 4 Yaps

Extras: 4 Yaps


 



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