Saturday, March 11, 2006
David Attenborough's Blood Lust
This is Planet Earth. BBC's new pull out all the stops nature series.
Say "Planet Earth" to me and I think of Duran Duran. And when I think of Duran Duran, I think of the video to Rio, with the boys sailing at high speed on the high seas, the sea breeze blowing back their immaculate hair, blowing up their immaculate white trousers, cooling and salting their immaculate, tiny, hairless bollocks.
I'd love to see them transported to this show. The Great White Shark who leaps and mercilessly crunches into a poor seal would mercifully take Simon le Bon between its jaws and luxuriate in the warming blubber of one of Britain's tossiest pop idols.
Planet Earth is full of sumptuous images. Millions of birds flying across a blue sky. Millions of caribou hiking across the plains of Canada. A pair of cute little polar bears sliding down an icy slope with their mother.
David Attenborough is narrating but I don't really notice what he's saying. Betty says at one point that it sounds as though he's having trouble with his dentures, but I'm just drifting away, watching the groovy digital images. There doesn't seem to be any real narrative, nothing particularly educational, just David's soothing voice, some sound effects of animals mooing or whatever they do, some Russian music when we're in Russia, some Japanese music when we're in Japan.
Cameras nowadays can do close ups from over a kilometre away (that's 6,500 salad plates, Vicus) so that giraffe crossing water doesn't know he's being watched. Woo hoo! Geoffrey!
The programme is repeated at weekends for your kids to watch, but I'd warn you that every now and again, there are bits the kids won't enjoy.
The aforementioned Great White Shark's movements are slowed down by a factor of 40 as it lunches on a seal (where's Paul McCartney when you need him?). We have the heartbreaking sight of a young elephant losing its mother after hundreds of miles of toiling through dry African terrain, searching for water. The youngster finds its mother's tracks and follows them. In the wrong direction.
Now they've got the technology to film this, watch a poor baby walk off to certain death, but not the humanity to help the poor thing out with water and directions. But I suppose your kids will realise how lucky they are to have a home and security and not wake up with nightmares of lost Dumbos.
As with all modern BBC Attenborough programmes, there's a boring 10 minute "how it was done" bit at the end. And they've really pulled out the stops this time. Just look at this equipment, this chopper with that 30 squillion dollar camera hanging off its bottom!
Christ, what a yawn. Here's the cast following a dog hunt...
Two weeks they spend trying to get a shot of a pack of wild dogs catching an impala. Three guys in a chopper, two guys off-roading. The first few days are enough really for us to see exactly how the dogs hunt. And guess what? The dogs are intelligent hunters! They're not all like Goofy, you know. They split up to surround the impala!
They just miss their prey and the impala runs away. We've seen enough.
But, no. The men are gutted. They want to see the kill. They're not satisfied until they see the dogs intelligently rip the life out of their prospective dinner. And just maybe they want another couple of weeks of driving and flying around being all macho, and getting paid for the privilege.
"He's a real maniac!" an off-roading guy shouts out as the chopper comes low and fast over his head.
"Whoa!" they shout as they try to keep up with the dogs and almost go into a ditch.
They get back to base camp one night and one of the tents is on fire. They put out the flames and wonder what could have happened if the chopper had been there with its 30 squillion dollar camera. A nightmare scenario.
On the last day (isn't it always the last day) they finally get their shot of the dogs closing in on an impala. The impala, though it can swim barely better than me, leaps into a river.
"The crocs'll get him," says a macho voice.
The crocs don't get him, you silly prick. The dogs are called away to an actual kill which the machomen missed, as our poor impala scrambles up the bank to run another day.
This is planet earth, kids. Get used to it.
No animals were harmed in the writing of this badly written, long-winded piece of shit.