All the previous 'Our Planet' episodes are wonderful, superbly made, fascinating, emotional, remarkably intimate and harrowing, with the odd entertaining sequence and sequences that one doesn't forget. It didn't matter at all to me that the series is not among the most ground-breaking or original work of the national treasure that is David Attenborough, and do think that the criticism and controversy for the heavy emphasis on conservation is and has gotten over the top.
The sixth episode "The High Seas" may not one of the best episodes of 'Our Planet', and not the most awe-inspiring or poignant. It is nonetheless a just as wonderful episode and continues the consistently high standard set by the previous five episodes. Even if it didn't leave me quite as in awe as others, for me it was actually one of the more illuminating episodes, really learnt a lot. Attenborough documentaries do tend to be quality-wise consistent when ranking individual episodes of each documentary, and 'Our Planet' is not exempt from that.
Have no issues with "The High Seas" on a visual level. While hauntingly beautiful, at the same time the depths of the ocean is dark and desolate. This episode is one of the strongest examples of 'Our Planet' of the habitats presented being much more than just beautiful scenery, along with the Arctic this is one of the cruellest and most unforgiving environments shown in the series. When it comes to individual scenes, the one that stood out to me the most was the intimate footage of the blue whales, which was just captivating and when it comes to footage of blue whales personally have seen nothing like it. The music has grandeur and whimsy without being intrusive.
"The High Seas" may not have scenes as unforgettable as in "Jungles" (the preening bird and the ants), "From Deserts to Grasslands" (any scene involving cheetahs) and especially "Frozen Worlds" (the walruses). The blue whales sequence is very memorable though, as is the sight of the dolphins travelling in such large groups. 'Our Planet' has gotten criticism for being familiar, but as aforementioned "The High Seas" was the most illuminating episode. While the large groups thing was not surprising to me, actually found myself learning an awful lot about dolphins (that feature fairly prominently here) with no prior knowledge. Most illuminating of all was everything with the world's tiniest plants the Phytoplankton.
Despite the criticisms with the conservation angle, with some finding it heavy handed, in "The High Seas" what is said about the healthiness of oceans and how to improve it is well worth addressing, was important to address and makes one really think of any differences they could make.
Narration typically is very thought-provoking and never rambling or speculative. There are some interesting individual feeling stories here throughout and so many of the species are easy to relate to. A lot of information is covered but felt properly explored and not rushed or disjointed, and the facts educate and illuminate while not being compromised for the emotionally complex storytelling. Once again, Attenborough's distinctive and unequalled narrative delivery, with his unmistakable voice, is sincere, enthusiastic as well as understated. One can listen to him for a long time and not tire of him, no other nature/wildlife documentary narrator/presenter has made me feel this way.
In conclusion, wonderful if not quite one of the best 'Our Planet' episodes. 10/10
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