It is always fascinating seeing behind the scenes accounts of nature documentaries, where you get a lot of insight into how scenes are constructed, the crew's roles and what the crew goes through to make the documentary possible. There are quite a few behind the scenes documentaries of the DisneyNature documentaries and all of them fascinate and in a few cases better than the documentary it's capturing the behind the scenes of. That was the case with for example 'Expedition China'. Being somebody who didn't care for 'Born in China' but liked 'Expedition China', which was a lot more interesting and focused and it did make me appreciate the crew's efforts. Just like 'Penguins: Life on the Edge' does. It is a behind the scenes account of 2019's 'Penguins', liked that DisneyNature documentary a lot on the whole despite serious reservations, except that it is even better. Not perfect, but much better narration, a better tone and it made me appreciate and admire what the crew do. 'Penguins: Life on the Edge' had some room for improvement. Although there has been a lot of criticism in recent documentaries when there is talk of climate change, some being criticised for having too much of a heavy emphasis on it, 'Penguins: Life on the Edge' actually would have benefitted from having more said about it. Due to it being a major struggle for Adelie penguins, to the point of it being life-threatening, and that was not delved into enough, which was a shame because it did so well with depicting their other struggles. However, the production values do look great. Beautifully photographed, showing the penguins in all their glory, with scenery that takes the breath away while also being suitably cruel. It is especially good in the orcas sequence and the way it is filmed as the crew risk their lives journeying over cracked ice leaves one with a suitable amount of dread and apprehension as well as hope. The music isn't too intrusive and the narration is informative (really did learn a lot here) and honest while never being too jokey or using confused terminology. Blair Underwood's narration is a vast improvement here over Ed Helms' for 'Penguins', there isn't anywhere near as much of the try too hard factor, it doesn't over explain and the tone is just right, adding a lot to the scenes rather than jarring. Furthermore, not only was the penguins' journey funny, emotional and rootable but so were the efforts of the crew. There was already a lot of admiration before even watching 'Penguins: Life on the Edge' for how the crew captured all the amazing footage, but their honesty behind the scenes was illuminating and heart-warming. The humour used to lighten the mood doesn't jar and the documentary doesn't shy away from showing the adversity the crew has to overcome and how difficult filming things up close can be. Apparently apparent in the orcas sequence. There are some very memorable scenes here, the scene with the orcas was very tense and even more so was the heart in the mouth-worthy leopard seals climax. In summary, very good with a huge amount to like. 8/10
Penguins: Life on the Edge
Penguins: Life on the Edge
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Follows the witty and tenacious team of filmmakers behind Disneynature's Penguins (2019), a coming-of-age story about an Adélie penguin named Steve.
February 13, 2021