David Attenborough is a household name across the globe. His soothing voice over bright and beautiful images of animals and creatures has beamed through our living rooms and kept us connected to the natural world.
But his latest documentary A Life on Our Planet shows that we aren’t connected as we may think. In fact, in our blind ignorance has sent shockwaves across this earth. This is not an easy or soothing film, this is an imperative and important watch for all of us.
In his own words, Attenborough speaks about his career as a broadcaster and natural historian. He documents his interactions with wildlife, his programs, and what keeps him invested in this wonderful world. However, this is not what is important about the movie. This is, as Attenborough puts it, a witness AND a mission statement to show how we can do more to bring our planet back from the brink of complete extinction.
Footage of striking creatures, landscapes and ocean scenes, and humans in their manmade jungles, populate this movie that is led by Attenborough’s talking head, staring straight down the camera. However, there are also grim and bloodied pictures of our effect on the globe.
At times, Attenborough’s eyes tell a bigger story than his words and the shocking statistics on screen that show how much mankind has decimated. As he ponders over how much we’ve ripped and eviscerated, you cannot miss the red and teary eyes of a man urging us to take our actions into account. It is never overtly preachy: Attenborough is merely showing you how wonderful and harmonious nature are as animals and planets keep the ecosystem thriving. Attenborough is letting you admire the beauty of nature before damning humanity’s arrogance in deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and fishing in the ocean. A hefty price we’re paying for our technological advances.
A Life On Our Planet is merely 80 minutes long but it’s content is crucial. The hard images such as bloody whaling or forests burned down with wildlife. This movie captures the career of Attenborough from his birth to now. He even touches on a predicted future where the world is practically non-existent. However, this is secondary only to Attenborough’s vital message, a message that the man himself delivers with earnestness and urgency;
We have to do better.
We have to learn from this. We have to keep life on our planet. Not just for nature, but for the human race too. Otherwise, the world as we know it now will cease to exist.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet is in cinemas from 28 September, and on Netflix on 4 October.7