Movie Review: “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”

By Mia Currie

David Attenborough has been an advocate for a reconstruction of our relationship with the planet throughout the course of his life. In his early 20’s he started to build his media presence which has now reached several countries in Europe, Asia and the United States. During his career, he starred in many of his own television shows (which aired weekly) and produced many earth-shattering documentaries which familiarized the general public with the beauty of the hidden treasures on Earth. A debut series of multi-part documentaries were released in 1954 and successfully aired for nine years. Being the first of its kind, this documentary persuaded viewers to learn more about the various creatures we coexist with. By this calculation, Attenborough has recorded significant parts of nature for more than 60 years.

He is currently 93 years old, and his new documentary released in April 2020 has received extremely positive reviews and has been attributed with touching the lives of many who have watched it. A Life On Our Planet describes the various changes Attenborough has seen regarding the augmented destruction of wildlife and flora since he was a youngster. By resurfacing old memories and video clips from past shows, the drastic visual changes are gut wrenching to watch. Many species have become extinct and many are currently endangered. Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest has stripped more than 400 species of their natural habitats and forced them to adapt or die. The replacement of oil palms to fill the deforested areas is destroying the soil by extracting all of its nutrients at an unnatural rate. Supported by large corporations, these areas have deprived many animals of what they need to survive. Orangutans have almost completely deserted the Amazon due to lack of trees and resources.

Although only the tip of the iceberg, the documentary highlights issues from global warming (and its ramifications on the oceans, icecaps, and land) to the selfishness of the human species. The purpose of this documentary is to raise awareness of the perilous course humans have taken in disregarding the clear signals nature has sent. Attenborough emphasizes the fact that nature will be able to rebuild as it has been seen doing time and time again, but humans will not be there to witness it. Although a very difficult documentary to watch, Attenborough makes sure to not only share the problems he has seen but offer viable solutions (simple life style changes, if you will) that will inevitably change the course we’re headed in. 

I personally believe that this documentary will give humans the final nudge to change. 

Official trailer for David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet