One Life Michael Gunton & Martha Holmes

One Life Michael Gunton & Martha Holmes
Pointing out that the BBC Earth series is synonymous with breathtaking cinematography and wholly impressive, crisp, high speed, high definition images of all earthly delights and wonders is more or less redundant. Very rarely are any of their segments on rare civilizations or animal and plant life in various climates and altitudes anything less than compelling, which means that this latest entry, One Life, is at least a safe bet on the aesthetic and intrigue front, especially on the big screen.

But where they can run into problems is in the narration front, wherein someone attempts to take an astounding amount of footage from around the world and assemble it into a pat, cohesive narrative accessible to an audience looking for rote identification. This is of particular issue here, as Daniel Craig narrates a tale of various modes of animal survival and lifestyle, relating it back to human ideologies in an anthropomorphized format to suggest that animals, humans and plants all have the same warm and fuzzy feelings about family despite the whole circle of life thing.

When not making laughable statements about birds having complex feelings for their young, or the self-sacrificial nature of the giant octopus, this nature documentary vacillates between various species of animals, giving brief looks at modes of mating, childrearing and survival, whether feeding oneself or, conversely, avoiding predators.

The actual examples used are nothing short of fascinating, such as a tribe of leafcutter ants that spend their days taking grass and other materials back to their hive, where they feed it to a fungus that they in turn feed on. There are even more amusing examples, like the Stank Beetle, wherein the males of the species endlessly climb trees to engage in a game of King of the Castle, in order to win the affections of the female, whom the winner mounts and then quickly kicks out of the tree, post-ejaculation.

It's all gorgeously shot and entirely engaging, should you choose to ignore the broadly stated, ridiculous narration that attempts to tie it together and reassure humans that we're all super-awesome and beautiful. (Alliance)