Frozen Planet: Spring (BBC/Discovery, 2011): UK

Reviewed by Barbara Rowland. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2012.

A hungry Polar bear family searches for food after losing the fourth member of their family to starvation.

Amongst frozen ice worlds of the Antartic and Artic, credited BBC (Planet Earth, Life) nature film makers set out to capture the unseen and unheard. Four years in the making the new BBC/Discovery addtion Frozen Planet  tours the SBIFF to stir audiences and reveal their treasured series. With a collection of episodes, “Spring” is just one of many. Other episodes featured are all relative to one another following stories of the animals and their monthly lifestyles. Other episodes included “From the Ends of the Earth,” “Summer,” “Winter,” “Autumn,” and “The Last Frontier,” to name a few. The series which premieres on March 18th, 2012 on Discovery Channel is also narrated by actor Alec Baldwin.

The episode Spring focuses on survival skills to adapt to oncoming winter weather as well as to ensure health during the thawing spring. Creatures of big and small are captured completing their instinctive duties to maintain their place in the circle of life. A species of caterpillar, for example, was filmed over time using an antifreeze compilation within their blood to resist the harsh winter weather. This form of survival helps ensure their longevity to succeed in their sole mission: to metamorphosize into a moth. The skills involved in finding a mate are expressed within the Elephant Seal species. This form of seal must fight for his place among the female seals to gain mating privileges. These violent actions against males is shown as a battle of the brute. The unharmed male seal however, gains privileges to mate with any and all females located on the beach. Not only does the series focus on the ever changing behaviors of the animals located in these environments but also the ever changing surroundings in which they live. The mutations of ice, to water, is amazingly documented throughout the episode. These stories and more help create a stunning point of view from an enviornment least travelled.

The beautiful icy landscape and frozen habitat these animals face daily is amazing. The team contributing to each episode took their time in selecting and documenting locations uninhabited by mankind. The time lapse and aeriel shots made moving and dramatic images as each pays favor to detail. The sounds were confirmed to have been actually documented and then added in to create another layer of specifications. The sounds of the small Polar bear cub were a treat to hear compiled with the beautiful recording of them traveling through snow.

The creation of the series of course complys to two purposes. The urgency is lays under this one of a kind documentation to urge the viewer to assist in the preservation of nature. I applaud these unique individuals who are dedicated to sharing this powerful use of technology to increase awareness of Earth’s ever changing condition. The transitioning landscapes can be aided and these episodes (I believe) are the perfect catalyst.

For those who have not scene Planet Earth, or Life they are available at the Santa Barbara Public Library–for free.


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