Life (2009)
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Insects and - species outnumber all higher animals by far. Their immense variety reflect adaptation to an extreme range of ecological conditions, even gravely toxic ones. Especially the ... See full summary »


Paul Spillenger (Discovery Channel)

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Episode credited cast:
David Attenborough ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lincoln Brower Lincoln Brower ... Himself - Butterfly Specialist (as Professor Lincoln Brower)
Tim Fogg Tim Fogg ... Himself - Climbing Team
Jim Spickler Jim Spickler ... Himself - Climbing Team
Oprah Winfrey ... Herself - Narrator (U.S. Broadcast)


Insects and - species outnumber all higher animals by far. Their immense variety reflect adaptation to an extreme range of ecological conditions, even gravely toxic ones. Especially the nearly 60,000 fly species cover about all the globe. Many can fly, which helps getting everywhere, but they also occur on/in soil, water, host plants or animals, cavities etcetera. They often occur in great swarms, as over a billion Monarch butterflies migrating from Canada to a Mexican forest to hibernate. To occupy various positions in ecological systems, usually prey, often predator, sometimes pollinator, and so on. Written by KGF Vissers

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UK | USA | Greece | Italy



Release Date:

16 November 2009 (UK) See more »

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Production Co:

Discovery Channel See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

The variety-filled life of insects
7 January 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.

Am a great fan of a lot of Attenborough's work and BBC's nature documentaries with his involvement are among their best work in years. Have been watching the BBC less over time, but there are always exceptions, unexpected gems and expected treasures that come our way every now and again and their nature documentaries are the perfect examples of expected treasures. 'Life' is a crowning achievement for a documentary series and actually, like the best documentary shows, feels much more than that. As far as Attenborough's work goes too, 'Life' to me is one of his biggest achievements.

"Insects" is an exploration of one of the biggest and most variety-filled species on Earth. Luckily it is a fascinating and wonderful one that is every bit as good as the previous five episodes that show that 'Life' is wholly deserving of being considered one of Attenborough's crowning achievements.

First and foremost, "Insects" is exceptionally well-made. Hardly surprising, one comes to expect that from Attenborough's work. In fact saying that doesn't do the production values justice. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery and various habitats are remarkably diverse and look speechlessly spectacular.

On a documentary level, "Insects" continually fascinates and illuminates, while there are some familiar facts here a lot of it was very much new. By the end of the series for me more was gotten out of it, and educated me much more than, anything taught when studying Geography and Science in secondary school.

Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.

The wildlife and life-forms are both adorable and dangerous, the wide-ranging diversity in personality and ability of what was included was staggering and it was lovely to see a mix of the familiar and the not-so-familiar. How they adapt to their environments, why they behave the way they do, how nature works and how what the wildlife and life-forms do affects their environments were all touched upon and made their points subtly, not hammering it home too much (a potential danger with documentaries).

There are a lot of beautiful images and memorable scenes here, especially the damselfly and bee segments. Personally didn't find the beetle one that stupid or distasteful, though can see why some might feel so.

Not once does "Insects" feel like an episodic stringing of scenes like it easily could have been. Instead it feels like its own story and journey, with real, complex emotions and conflicts and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several. One really cares for what they're told and the wildlife.

Overall, maybe not quite as good as the previous five episodes but is still a wonderful representation of why 'Life' is as highly regarded as it rightly is. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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