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Monday, 14 November 2016

Planet Earth 2

Last Night I watched David Attenborough's Planet Earth 2.

It is beyond comprehension that they can keep on improving on previous triumphs introduced by DA, but they do just get better and better, BUT...

...last night there was deafening intrusion of orchestral music so loud I had to turn the sound down.

One of the best sequences in the whole film was watching the grizzly bears scratching their backs on the trees. If we had been able to hear properly they were creating their own fascinating ecstatic growling soundtrack, but this was drowned out by cacophonous bongo drums almost demanding the use of ear defenders.

One of the best programmes ever was practically ruined for me as I remained on edge throughout as I kept wincing as yet more inappropriate background, nay foreground music drowned out the sounds of nature.

Many other people complain, but the programme makers seem to be in denial - what are they thinking about?


afootinthehills said...

Hello Conrad. I agree, a visually superb and fascinating programme marred at times by intrusive and inappropriate music. The programme makers don't appear to listen/care what viewers say.

Equally, many science programmes are unwatchable because of pointless music, and camera work that makes me feel dizzy. I stopped watching Horizon years ago.

Alan Rayner said...

I'm not a big fan of DA, i just can't stand his voice. But, i will endeavour to watch this on catch up and see what i think. Thanks.

Alan Rayner said...

Ok, now watched it. The camera work is first class and the avalanche scene with the sound of the trees cracking was superb.
I agree with you on the music spoiling numerous parts especially the bear scratching. I was a little disgusted that the music played and probably given the green light by DA, was enhancing 'The Bear Dancing", which the world is trying to eradicate.
For me i could have watched this without any commentary at all.

Sir Hugh said...

AR - I'm glad to hear your comments. I suppose there are politics involved in making such films between directors, producers, the BBC hierarchy et al. I would be surprised if DA would be easily swayed against his will, but in one of the earlier episodes there was some controversy about misleading filming - can't remember the exact details now but it left a question mark over the integrity of DA who I would have thought before that would be above any kind of subterfuge.

Weather is still keeping me indoors. I have just finished Bad Science (Ben Goldacre), see reply to Ruth on my previous post. I can recommend it - I think it would suit you. I have now started on Nick Crane's latest - The Making of the British Landsacape. Tha title suggests boredom to me but after the first thirty pages I am hooked. It is well written creating vivid mental pictures and much of interest, especially for we folk who wander around, and appreciate our countryside.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan-I think DA is the finest of narrators, knowledgeable and unobtrusive - unlike many these days who turn their programmes into something about them rather than the subject matter. DA knows when to be quiet. The music is another matter, although I only found it intrusive in places, and I'd be surprised if he had much say in that. Producers are pretty much in control I think.

Also, without DA's narration I would have enjoyed a stunning film but be a lot less knowledgeable about the animals and where they live. For example I wouldn't have known I was watching a bobcat and not a lynx, the number of snow leopards per square mile, how much weight a bear puts on in summer and so on.

Alan Rayner said...

I know where you are coming from Gibson and I have no gripe about it. It's just a person thing, I don't find DA,s voice enthralling I find it boring. I also find I can second guess his next sentence because he has done so many similar commentaries. On the other hand I have enjoyed very much Dan Snow's documentary about the gold rush.

Roderick Robinson said...

In general I support your disapproval of intrusive music. But not when it came to the bears. They adopted a strange rhythmic entwinement with the trees in seeking to rid themselves of surplus winter fur, repetitive too. The accompanying music had a Latin-American beat, perhaps a samba or possibly salsa (which confuses me since I always that was something you ate), and had been chosen to match the bears' writhing. I saw this as witty.

After all the programme, however well filmed, was just another telly thing about nature; it wasn't the word of God. In fact it occurred to me how banal the commentary was, how many times DA must have said "But now it's winter and food is desperately hard to come by in this most inhospitable, etc, etc." There's a prevailing solemnity about these oft-repeated words, to the point where you can now predict what's coming: the snow disappears, the sun shines, there are snowdrops in the foreground and a voice intones, "And now it's spring and new hope for animals which have struggled, etc, etc."

DA's a nice guy, no doubt. But he also inadvertently bypasses the view, which I share with Alan Bennett, that being called "a national treasure" is not something to be welcomed. Over eighty, Bennett is still producing original stuff (try the novella called The Uncommon Reader, in which the Queen discovers the marvels of the public library) and winning awards (eg, The Lady In The Van). Other than the new technology there's nothing much new about Planet Earth 2

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Re the bongo bears, we both have subjective opinions, but I'm glad to hear we're in some general agreement on this music thing. I tend to agree with you about DA, and as AR says above, a lot of the time commentary could be cut. For me the enjoyment of these films is seeing, as you say, the advance in technology and filming techniques - just when you think they can't do any better we have a guy leaping off a cliff imitating the stoop of the golden eagle, and again the film is enhanced, for me by the explainer bits at the end.

Roderick Robinson said...

Let's get one thing straight. The bears appeared to be engaged in one of those sexy South American dances; the director provided appropriate music. In that instance at least there was a causal relationship. Talk of "bongos" and "subjective opinions" suggests you haven't made the connection. I'm not saying you should like it, just understand it.