Close encounter with our cousins

I don’t remember the last time i was so fascinated by something as much as i am with Planet Earth II (2016) right now. After watching the BBC series, comprising 6 episodes, each lasting 50 minutes, i must say this has to be my cinematic crest of 2017. I watched La La Land in January and Moonlight this month but...

OK, yes, a documentary shouldn’t ideally represent cinema and it’s too early to judge the year. However, the closeness you feel with Planet Earth II is out of this world. As ironic as that may sound.

Come to think of it, the very objective of this series must have been to be awestruck at Earth. Mother Nature couldn’t have asked for a greater PR machinery. Beautifully narrated by David Attenborough in his unique style, the cameras make you walk with the penguins featured or run away from the komodo dragons wrestling each other for territory or cop a feel out of the snow leopard (there are more people alive today who have been to space than those who have seen this furry beast) on the screen. Not to forget the numerous never-heard-of-before-let-alone-seen species from remote places. Calling them exotic would be demeaning because that word creates distance whereas Planet Earth II compels you to nurture a bond with them. They are not strangers. Not anymore.

It’s only when somebody else points out something unique that we start questioning our point of view.

The 6 segments, dedicated to islands, mountains, deserts, grasslands, jungle and cities, guide you on a journey you won’t forget. Be it day or night, sunshine or downpour, storm or delight, the documentary continues to emit pictures of the highest order. It’s almost as if the characters — if we can call them so — are choreographed to behave in a certain manner. Long live voyeurism! There are tense moments in equal measure here along with the laughable bits. The amount of non-human innocence at display will either cheer you up or break you down. At the risk of letting out spoilers, nothing you’ve ever watched before on Discovery Channel or NGC or Animal Planet could possibly match the clarity of these images.

Ultra HD, they are calling it.

We can only wonder what our magicians of the future can accomplish in the future.

If pushing the limit means making us see better, then the horizon is bound to be invisible.

If that isn’t enticing enough, i don’t know what is. Oh yes, there is something called Planet Earth II Diaries at the end of each segment, which lets you in for a private show on how the animals and the birds and the insects and the reptiles and younameit were caught on camera. A documentary within a documentary, if you may. The process seems frustratingly laborious but the people involved have an unquestionable passion for documenting stuff lazybones like me can marvel at. The extent to which the producers and the camerapersons and the crew would go to reach their subjects, irrespective of the technology at hand, is not only inspiring but also suicidal. And for that sake, you should watch this series.

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