I was thrilled when I found out that Netflix had Planet Earth II available for streaming. The boyfriend and I immediately got drinks, made popcorn, and settled in for a docu-marathon.
David Attenborough narrates the action in his calming, British voice. His best skill is pronouncing words like “sloth” (slow-th) and “jaguar” (jag-you-are). The script, which he helps write, is mostly factual narration with occasional snark thrown in for the derpier animals.
I don’t know how they do it but the series is full of incredible shots of running lizards, dancing flamingos, and
sloths slowths searching for love. I’m assuming they have thousands of hours of rejected footage of animals lazing around doing nothing.
The music pairs well with the video footage and adds a cinematic feel. The composers (which include Hans Zimmer) superimpose romantic piano music over the albatross waiting for his mate and dramatic chase music over baby lizards being hunted by snakes . There’s also this clip, which I’m not going to explain because you just need to watch it:
Side note: My one coworker frequently scratches his back on my door frame mid-conversation. This music now plays in my head whenever he does it.
It’s not all dancing bears and love stories, however; Planet Earth II also shows the grittier side of nature. The footage of the majestic bobcat had excessive closeups of them marking their territories, creating a sound which our subtitles referred to as “spritzing.”
However, most of the sounds aren’t real, due to the challenges of recording sound in nature. Although this makes the bobcat spritzing less gross, it does detract from the authenticity of the documentary when you know that the bobcat’s mating call is probably just an intern yowling into a microphone.
All in all, it’s still a wonderful watch.