“It’s remarkable, and it’s valuable.”
November 15, 2016 5:12 PM   Subscribe

BBC Series Planet Earth II Will Be Unparalleled, Says Attenborough [The Guardian] “A lone eagle soars high above craggy mountain tops, the tips of its wings lifting lightly in the wind. A lemur leaps from tree to tree in a dense forest, the camera following the animal with every bound. An enormous grizzly bear wriggles his back against a tree, as if caught in an embarrassing dance. This is planet Earth, but not as you have ever seen it before. That’s because, more accurately, it is Planet Earth II [YouTube], the latest – and perhaps most spectacular – blockbuster nature series the BBC has ever made. Ten years after Sir David Attenborough narrated the channel’s groundbreaking epic Planet Earth, the 90-year-old broadcaster has returned for part two, a lavish six-part series that will screen on BBC1 from Sunday 6 November. Shot over three years in 117 filming trips to 40 countries, it is one of the first series to be fully filmed in the latest UHD and HDR formats, according to the BBC, and features countless sequences that could not have been achieved without new, ultra-lightweight cameras and drones.”

Episodes: [wiki]
1. "Islands"
2. "Mountains"
3. "Jungles"
4. "Deserts"
5. "Grasslands"
6. "Cities"
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Filming Planet Earth II: DJI Ronin, Long Lenses and Lots of Patience [Imaging Resource]
“Wow, it has everything! But I digress, how was it shot? In the 360-degree video below (be sure to experiment with the controls in the top left corner of the video to move the camera around), we learn about baby marine iguanas, which hatch from their eggs and run across a beach to reach the jagged, dark rocks where their parents are waiting. One problem, as you saw above, there are racer snakes waiting amongst the rocks to greet the baby iguanas not with a friendly hiss but with death. Nearby, a couple of camera operators make good use of the DJI Ronin, a handheld 3-axis camera stabilizing system, allowing the videographers to run with the snakes and follow them while recording steady footage. On the other side of the environment, a third shooter has a long lens to capture tight footage of the animals as their battle plays out. Overhead, a Galapagos hawk soars above, interested in consuming both the snakes and the iguanas.” [YouTube] [360-degree video] [Iguana vs Snakes]
David Attenborough on Planet Earth II: 'I was deeply moved by the plight of the snow leopard' [The Telegraph]
““It is very important that TV should take a studied view of something important. And there’s nothing more important than the world in which we live,” says Attenborough. “These stories take time, devotion and money.” Indeed, getting close to wildlife for long enough to capture clear, exciting footage is a huge challenge, even with modern equipment. The project consisted of 117 filming trips in 40 countries, using technology that has been developed in the last 10 years – drones and remotely activated cameras with motion sensors. Each journey to a rarely explored locale was fraught with disruptions, ranging from fearsome weather to camera-shy animals. For the Mountains episode of the new series, the show crossed over into the world of extreme sport. A world-champion paraglider was employed to fly tandem with a cameraman on Mont Blanc to mimic how a golden eagle flies.”
BBC Earth YouTube Channel:
• Planet Earth II Hans Zimmer Soundtrack 360° - BBC Earth [YouTube]
• Swimming Sloth Searches For Mate - Planet Earth II [YouTube]
• Iguana vs Snakes - Planet Earth II [YouTube]
• Iguana vs Snakes - Behind the Scenes - Planet Earth II [YouTube]
• Bears Dancing To 'Jungle Boogie' - Planet Earth II [YouTube]
posted by Fizz (64 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
The 'Chinstrap Penguins' from that first episode trying valiantly to get up the shore and find its mate, .it gets to me. I know that Hans Zimmer manipulates me with that music but damned if it doesn't work each and every time. I find myself emotionally attached to certain animals and both their triumphs and failures.
posted by Fizz at 5:25 PM on November 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


When and on what is this going to be watchable on for people without cable?
posted by macrael at 5:32 PM on November 15, 2016


The first series was available on dvd a few months after it aired.
posted by amarynth at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2016


Seriously, tho. That iguana vs. snakes thing is just about the craziest thing I have EVER seen. What unbelievable filming and editing. If the whole series is one-sixteenth that amazing I will die from exhaustion watching it.
posted by missmary6 at 6:03 PM on November 15, 2016 [33 favorites]


Oops, I think a writhing ball of snakes must have eaten the rest of my comment, which was something like, "Those snakes hunting en masse are pure nightmare fuel."
posted by amarynth at 6:05 PM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


The way that lizard runs... on two legs, arms flailing like a muppet....
posted by I-baLL at 6:29 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I shall be intrigued to see if it is in fact different, or if it's the same animals as ever presented in HD. BBC needs a moratorium on:

1. Lions hunts, cheetah hunts, Mara crossings. Actually just stay away from the savanna altogether.
2. African elephants.
3. Polar bears.
4. Tool using primates.
5. Sharks hunting sardines, anchovies etc.
6. Most penguins but especially anything about penguins and nests/nesting.
7. Orcas
8. Lemurs
9 Carnivorous plants

They need more:
1. Camels
2. Frogs, i just can't get enough of those little guys
3. Moles and other smaller mammals
4. Stuff from central and north eastern asia
5. Stuff from south america.
posted by smoke at 6:46 PM on November 15, 2016 [20 favorites]


I will take whatever they want to give me, and then I will smoke a bowl and spend a joyful hour going "holy shit!"

This is stoner Christmas.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:00 PM on November 15, 2016 [44 favorites]


Although I would really appreciate a warning if they intend to show us anymore babies getting tragically murdered. I mean, come on. Know your audience.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:01 PM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's nature. Do you really need a warning to know that animals eat other animals?
posted by I-baLL at 7:04 PM on November 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


When and on what is this going to be watchable on for people without cable?

1. Wait for the Region 1 home video release or Netflix streaming or whatever, whenever that might happen, or...
2. It'll probably hit Region 2 home video before Christmas -- and before getting to BBC America in January -- so if you have a region-free player, there's that, or...
3. If you don't mind those shitty bootlegs where you can only see like a quarter of the image, which is way shrunken down, and there's like a shittifying filter over the whole thing, and it's half sped up and half slowed down, and the audio is all fucked up, then there's always YouTube. Of course, you'll have to sift through all the fake-out "click the link below!" videos first, which is no easy feat. Or...
4. Straight up pirate that shit.

They're pretty much steering you straight into a life of criminality, aren't they? That an "event" broadcast like this isn't going out same-day on this side of the pond is just completely freaking stupid. I'm guessing the wait is so they have time to redub it all with Sigourney Weaver or some bullshit like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:05 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


" so if you have a region-free player, there's that"

Just wanted to point out that if anybody here has a dedicated dvd player then it's usually very easy to make them region free. Just google for your dvd player's model and the words "region free". It usually ends up being a pattern that needs to be entered on the remote and you end up selection Region 0 (aka ALL regions)
posted by I-baLL at 7:16 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just checked, and, yep, apparently it comes out on Region 2 DVD and BluRay on December 5, which is not only before Christmas and more than a month before the first episode airs in the US, but also a week before the final episode airs in the UK!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on November 15, 2016


It'll be good to have to show our grandchildren, who will be living on a raft of lashed-together styrofoam in the middle of the Pacific, eating jellyfish gruel, surrounded by circling sharks.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2016 [34 favorites]


Sorry, that's a spoiler for Planet Earth IV
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


Hello is this where I can sign up for dance classes taught by grizzly bears?
posted by Mizu at 7:59 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was initially disappointed to realize that planet earth 2 was actually filmed right here on regular earth, but the footage is amazing. I would say that, despite all the advances in camera technology (and to a much lesser degree, scientific understanding) Life on Earth 1979 is as good as any of the more recent shows.
posted by snofoam at 8:10 PM on November 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, this takes care of my plans for substitute teachers for the year. Bring it on influenza!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:18 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wake up sheeple, nature is obviously a lie!
Just look at the color bleed on the head of this "iguana". This was obviously filmed in some studio in Hollywood!!

(On a more serious note: I am excited, but carefully excited. I try not to measure the quality of documentaries in terms of how high-def and crisp the images are, how colorful and "life-like" the color grading is, or how emotionalizing the orchestral score turns out to be, I would just love to learn new things. Hope this doesn't fall by the wayside.)
posted by bigendian at 8:23 PM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I started watching Iguana vs. SNAKES again after seeing it previously and I had to turn it off because it stressed me out too much. AND I ALREADY KNOW HOW IT ENDS!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:39 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to be excited and I am a big Sir David fan of many years...but I am saddened by the idea that one day all that might be left of nature are these documentaries.

Rather than making a new biggest most hidef production, I'd be far more interested in Attenborough revisiting locales filmed for Living Planet and show how they've fared in the intervening 20-30 years. It would be sobering and maybe we could benefit from a bit more of that and less "jaguar leaps on prey filmed at 10k fps in HDR/8k resolution."

(And apologies for harshing any one's mellow but I felt it had to be said.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:39 PM on November 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


I'd be far more interested in Attenborough revisiting locales filmed for Living Planet and show how they've fared in the intervening 20-30 years.

There is a revisit (not sure of which original series though) in the first episode, regarding an invasive species.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:45 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although I would really appreciate a warning if they intend to show us anymore babies getting tragically murdered. I mean, come on. Know your audience.

X2.

I always wish they would make a G-rated* version of these things, wihout things being chased or eaten.
I already know nature is red in tooth and claw, I don't need to see it in closeup.
I just want to watch baby prairie dogs doing their thing!

*And not "Disney G" where the parents die 5 minutes into it, so the baby mongoose or whatever can overcome adversity set to dramatic music. Actual G.
posted by madajb at 9:49 PM on November 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


The first episode, Islands, was very good. Iguana vs. snakes was amazingly intense, the march of the crabs was pure nighmare fuel (and seeing what the ants do to them didn't help), bird-killing trees was a little hard to watch, and the penguin island was really cool.

Episode 2, Mountains, wasn't quite as good. Mountain goats and eagle fight were the highlights, IMO. I get that the footage they got of the Himalayan snow leopards was unprecedented, but it didn't seem too different from what happens when other territorial and solitary animals run into each other. Bobcat-in-the-snow was the better cat segment.

If you're worried about gruesome and heart-wrenching scenes, I suggest you skip the island episode. It's pretty much murderdeath the whole way through.
posted by clorox at 9:57 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to be able to watch this! I expect the major thought running through my head however will be "well jeez we fucked all this up didn't we."

Do we have plans to launch this thing into space? I feel like it needs to go into space as some sort of lonely, roaming record of what this planet was once capable of.

tl;dr THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND EVERYTHING SUCKS.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:28 PM on November 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Can I get David for my GPS? Can I use that new Adobe speech synthesis software to get David to narrate my life?

don't even think about it 2016
posted by adept256 at 10:34 PM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


> Although I would really appreciate a warning if they intend to show us anymore...

...extended bear crotch gyration closeups. Jeepers!

The Sloth is apparently taking the Bowerbird baton.

They made it look like that iguana was just lazing about in Snake Valley, but that was where it hatched? So many questions, can't wait to see this at some undetermined point in the future. Ideally at a local art house.
posted by christopherious at 10:36 PM on November 15, 2016


I've watched both that have been broadcast via... un-official means.

The iguana chase is simply the best directed piece of nature film I've ever seen. Astonishing.

The 2nd episode isn't quite as special, but there is a sequence where golden eagles fight over a fox carcass that is jaw-dropping.
posted by lattiboy at 11:34 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a deep fear that this bastard year of our Lord 2016 isn't finished with us yet and for its pièce de résistance will take Attenborough from us before its end. I hope someone is keeping a close watch on him.
posted by Jimbob at 12:27 AM on November 16, 2016


surrounded by circling sharks

More likely circling squid.
posted by flabdablet at 1:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


where is this "planet earth 2" and can i move there plz
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:52 AM on November 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


Extraordinary photography on the second episode, looked awesome in HD. It believe it was filmed in Ultra-High Definition; I will find it difficult to resist a TV upgrade when the 4K version is released.
posted by paulash at 2:42 AM on November 16, 2016


On Fanfare.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:34 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a deep fear that this bastard year of our Lord 2016 isn't finished with us yet and for its pièce de résistance will take Attenborough from us before its end. I hope someone is keeping a close watch on him.

Don't even say it.

He looked perky as anything on the Graham Norton show the other week, so fingers crossed.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:41 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


surrounded by circling sharks

LOL listen to the optimist, he thinks there are still going to be fish in the oceans!
posted by Meatbomb at 4:26 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The iguana vs snakes bit - holy shit! I actually screamed out loud.

I figured the dancing bears video might be just the thing to release the tension, and it was! Superbly edited and wonderful.

So in short, I will be watching the hell out of this series. Can't wait till the kids come home from school so I can show them these clips.
posted by widdershins at 6:03 AM on November 16, 2016


Yeah, it is best we document all this before it ends up destroyed. Future generations will watch these documentaries, and despair while cursing our names.
posted by Blackanvil at 7:12 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's nature. Do you really need a warning to know that animals eat other animals?

Of course not. However, it's one thing to acknowledge or indeed show an animal eating another. It's entirely another thing to, for example, horrifically linger in High Definition on a terrified baby elephant being chased by a predator to an inevitable, traumatizing conclusion.

Which is why we re-named it Planet Death and stopped watching the first series part-way through. Which still saddens me, because this should be right up my alley.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


LOL listen to the optimist, he thinks there are still going to be fish in the oceans!

I meant malfunctioning robot sharks.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:34 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


" It's entirely another thing to, for example, horrifically linger in High Definition on a terrified baby elephant being chased by a predator to an inevitable, traumatizing conclusion."

Why is it different? What else are carnivores going to do? Starve?
posted by I-baLL at 7:50 AM on November 16, 2016


Why is it different? What else are carnivores going to do? Starve?

Remember, this is the website where people anthropomorphize croutons. Asking everyone here to be OK with seeing cute animals ripped to shreds is probably unrealistic.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:01 AM on November 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


I do like the idea of a Vegan Planet Earth series where no animal products are consumed. Follow our planet's critters as they forage, build living spaces, play, court and mate, bring up their young...
posted by kurumi at 8:18 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Asking everyone here to be OK with seeing cute animals ripped to shreds is probably unrealistic."

Heh, I'm not asking people to be necessarily okay with it. I just don't understand why people want nature documentaries to not show nature.
posted by I-baLL at 8:47 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


"I do like the idea of a Vegan Planet Earth series where no animal products are consumed. Follow our planet's critters as they forage, build living spaces, play, court and mate, bring up their young..."

And then the after effects of Vegan Planet Earth....
posted by I-baLL at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


(I don't mean to be such a Debbie Downer)
posted by I-baLL at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2016


Why is it different? What else are carnivores going to do? Starve?

One of the Planet Earth scenes that stuck out for me was the polar bear that was starving to death because it no longer had the energy to kill a walrus.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:54 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Heh, I'm not asking people to be necessarily okay with it. I just don't understand why people want nature documentaries to not show nature.

That's like saying any documentary that doesn't show people murdering each other with guns isn't showing humans.

And if that's the case, "Helvetica" and "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" were just big fakes.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:02 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


"That's like saying any documentary that doesn't show people murdering each other with guns isn't showing humans."

Did you just equate animals eating food for survival with murder? A documentary about the everyday life of people without showing them eating anything is not a documentary about the everyday life of people. Anyways, I think I'm posting too much in this thread so I'm out for the next few hours or so.
posted by I-baLL at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Of course I only murder people I'm going to eat. What do you murder people for?
posted by flabdablet at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Did you just equate animals eating food for survival with murder?

It's almost as if analogies aren't meant to be carbon copies.

My point was not complaining about showing animal death at all, it was the creepily drawn-out animal death scenes. Like the difference between a detective show and a horror movie: both contain death, but they approach it very differently.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although I would really appreciate a warning if they intend to show us anymore babies getting tragically murdered. I mean, come on. Know your audience.

They do. You're not it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I especially dislike them if they are heavily narrativized - 'here is the dear little antelope calf, see how it's mother licks it and cossets, WILL IT SURVIVE TO ADULTHOOD, oh look, a leopard is stalking it, WILL THE CALF STRAY TOO FAR FROM ITS MOTHER', etc. I can deal with dispassionate recording of events a lot better.

But in general I've found that I've become more of a wimp as I get older. I'll usually skip forward through especially bloody or extended sequences. It's like, I know that second chick is going to die, I don't really need to spend ten minutes of my life watching its sibling peck it and its parents spurn it as it weakly begs for food.
posted by tavella at 10:23 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Very impressive and beautiful. Great wildlife shots and then... Singapore Gardens by the Bay? Why? Can't it just be wildlife and not weird artificial stuff - that belongs in a show including the artificial islands in Dubai and maybe high-end wildlife preserves.
posted by ueyfeuor at 10:38 AM on November 16, 2016


Given that they are covering a lot of urban wildlife -- I've heard peregrines and leopards mentioned -- it fits in with the theme is that all wildlife's fate is now subject to human pressure and efforts, the question is to what degree. There is no untouched part of the world. If we don't affect them directly through hunting, resource extraction, and conservation, we affect them through how we are changing the climate of the whole world.
posted by tavella at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2016


Really enjoying it so far, particularly the 'behind the scenes' shorts at the end of the episode.

I always wish they would make a G-rated* version of these things, wihout things being chased or eaten.

This is literally the opposite of the point of a nature documentary. I am flabbergasted to read this on MeFi.
posted by modernnomad at 11:09 AM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't think that 'watching things die' is actually the core point of the nature documentary. And all of them make choices about what to show -- they may show the chase and the takedown, but very few will stick around watching the prey scream as its guts are eaten first, for example.
posted by tavella at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Watching things live is the point. And for wild animals in a natiral setting, a good chunk of living consists of barely escaping the clutches of death.

If you want to see animals frolick in complete safety, what you are looking for is not nature documentary. It's a toilet paper commercial.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can see both sides of this. I suppose I get grumpy when I feel they are doing death for drama, rather than information. In the BBC series, Africa - which wasn't exactly drowning in facts to begin with - there is a very long sequence showing a baby elephant dying from hunger and dehydration. It goes for about ten minutes, replete with soaring strings and awful anthropomorphism. After such a long sequence, did I learn how much a baby elephant needs to eat? How far they can travel? How often this happens? Perhaps they informed me that the park it was filmed in (amboseli) has a catch 22 thing going on, where the huge populations of elephants are knocking down all the trees and making it harder to survive each year? No, there was none of that. It was just misery porn.

As opposed to say a wolf hunt where what the wolves are doing and how is explained etc.

So I get it
posted by smoke at 12:35 PM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


The quality of the footage is so good you can practically feel the teams behind it standing in the room beaming with pride. I particularly liked the seasonal transition bit in the second episode where they had a static fade, then a matched panning fade, then as if they knew people would be like "seen it before" a matched drone shot fade.

And nthing that the racer snake sequence was absolutely unbelievable, the way they all emerge from the rocks is like something from a movie, and that final leap! It's a shame the clip online is missing the first time they appear, almost unnoticeably creeping in from off screen while you focus on the baby iguana, it was a perfect shot. I've enjoyed seeing it posted around the internet all week though, and the incredulous comments it always gets.
posted by lucidium at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


As opposed to say a wolf hunt where what the wolves are doing and how is explained etc.

Funny you should mention that, one of my favourite nature docs is about wolves hunting.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:08 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's not so much the animals getting eaten that saddens me, more that some day, likely not too far into the future, David Attenborough will no longer be with us.
posted by New England Cultist at 9:32 AM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


here is the dear little antelope calf, see how it's mother licks it and cossets, WILL IT SURVIVE TO ADULTHOOD

Bambi Meets Godzilla

posted by flabdablet at 5:40 PM on November 17, 2016


The 360˚ videos are really worth watching, they give you a sense of the place that you don't get from the edited footage, and they have some behind the scenes narration.

The reminder that they could only get such close footage of the baby iguanas and racer snakes because they haven't learned to be scared shitless of humans yet was a little crushing though.
posted by lucidium at 6:53 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just watched a little. The silly, overwrought sound effects and constant slo-mo make it unwatchable.
posted by jpe at 8:22 PM on November 17, 2016


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