‘One Life’ Movie Review
The BBC brings nature to the big screen with their new, full-length documentary, One Life. Hosted by Daniel Craig, this stunning look at the survival skills and mating patterns of some of Earth’s most remarkable animals strives to change the way we think about our own impact on this planet in the short, one life we spend upon it.
From the bone-chilling temperatures of Antarctica to the blistering heat of the Serengeti, our world is teeming with life, both abundant and thriving, but also rare and precious. The filmmakers made a wise decision in choosing to focus on both the well-known (such as the always popular elephant) and the less-known such as Israel’s Nubian Ibex, a sweet little goat-like creature who narrowly escaped the clutches of a red fox only weeks after its birth, the first time such an event has ever been captured on film.
In fact, many of the events and animal behaviors in this film have never been recorded before, certainly not in such stunning high-definition. Breathtaking is the first word that comes to my mind. Many new technologies and filming capabilities were tested out during the three years it took to make this film, and the results definitely paid off. The film is gorgeous.
Yet for all of its splendor, One Life lacks something that will push it to the heights of nature documentary fame. Perhaps by focusing on so many animals, the filmmakers never gave us a chance to latch on to any particular story, such as with the famous March of the Penguins. I learned a lot during this film, but I don’t feel I retained much of that knowledge, except now I know that Kimodo Dragons are the sneaky, evil bastards of the animal kingdom.
Parents should be warned that there are a few disturbing scenes in this film, such as the aforementioned Kimodo Dragon taking down a water buffalo, not to mention a pack of cheetahs hunting an ostrich. Fortunately these moments are brief and almost completely bloodless, a great comfort to the animal-lovers who are likely to be this film’s biggest audience.
Also kept to a minimum is the actual act of mating. In fact, the only animals seen mating on screen are insects. For a film that claims to be about life itself, it seems strange to censor the very act that starts it all.
This is a good film for older children or anyone who just truly loves spectacular animal photography, but for anyone looking for an in-depth, thought provoking nature documentary, I would consider looking elsewhere.
One Life opens in limited release on February 21st.