David Attenborough: A life on our Planet
Having only seen it advertised this morning I rushed to book tickets, a few ‘standard interruptions’ later I was all booked up for this evening. After all, this was one night only. How lucky I was to get a ticket – in the nick of time. Or so I thought.
I sprung it upon my friend and daughter and that was our evening planned. We arrived to an empty cinema – I’ve since heard that 37 were in attendance.
We had the usual trailers except they were ‘specifically chosen’ for this film. Judy Dench in Blithe Spirit- it did the trick, I’m going to watch it. Predictably followed by ‘I am Greta’. I prepared myself for a preachy and condescending self-indulgent rant against humanity designed to fill us all with shame and guilt, as is the modern way.
And we open to a frank and close centre framed piece to camera. “I’m David Attenborough, I’m 93.” he calls this his ‘witness statement’.
A life on our Planet certainly benefits from the cinema screen. Broken up nicely by the black and white archival pieces and the images tell a fair story. Up until 2020.
The facts are displayed in the form of a counter, showing human population on Earth, Carbon Parts Per Million and Percentage of Wilderness left on our Planet.
What gives this biodocumentary its gravitas is the short timeframe. After 2020 its a bit doom and gloom and very op- ed as we call in the trade, but this tells a powerful and provable story from a primary source who has experienced it first hand.
Although the blame started early on – fifteen minutes in, after we have no choice but to recognise the change in the world and we seriously begin to question why – he announces ‘we started farming’. Well yes we did, but I do feel that the farmers of today have done more than anyone to help this crisis and to preserve the natural land. But of course, I now realise, its not so natural at all. Half the fertile land on Earth is now formed.
The film moves along at an engaging pace and the images are truly breathtaking. My own experiences of videography has taught me that yes, the images have been enhanced, but so much the better for we are privy to a dazzling display of places of the Earth most of us are never likely to encounter.
Yes it raises awareness but also highlights that separating card and paper can really have no impact on the cleared rainforests.
Most of us are more careful these days with what we put in our bodies and we get a good feeling from sustainability, organic food and knowing where its come from.
Clearly not a box officer breaker but I view this as a piece of history, whose value will only grow in time. Whereas the message Attenborough portrays is that we are depleting the world’s value. Three trillion trees have gone – half the world’s rainforests. The summer sea ice in the artic has reduced by 40% in 40 years.
It is the lack of biodiversity he mourns most of all.
It reminded me of Christopher Booker’s last column in The Telegraph – David Attenborough has explored this world and has now narrated it’s epitaph, do make sure you see it. It’s on all of us.