BBC’s latest instalment of a new nature series was highly anticipated; if only because Stephen Fry was narrating. Having not expected anything too different from the Attenborough style nature programmes we’ve come to love; one is initially taken back by its liveliness, and with the Harry Potter reminiscent music you become immediately aware it isn’t going to be your average documentary.
However, even by the end of the first episode Hidden Kingdoms revealed itself to be severely disappointing. This disappointment was mainly due to the untraditional filming methods. You soon realise that the imagery is often computer generated and looks obviously fake, for example with owls being superimposed onto the beach. This meant that the previously lively music turned irritating and it suddenly began to feel a bit Doctor Who-ish, despite the very factual information.
What made the whole thing totally odd, was how they combined real footage with computer generated footage, the results were that the real images and information were severely undermined. In the producers attempt to give a proper insight into the smaller animal kingdoms of the world, the realism of the programme was compromised. Slow motion was overused and as a result the moments of action lost their excitement and many will find themselves slightly bored within half an hour. This real problem with Hidden Kingdoms is that they have manipulated the environment in order to give us a better view, but in doing so they have completely lost the essence of the natural world, by covering it up with artificial filming techniques, which they are actually annoyingly proud of.Perhaps this is coming from a slightly old fashioned perspective, but personally I prefer watching the more traditional, unmodified nature in all it’s glory and thankfully this is the core of most other non-fiction documentaries.
Hidden Kingdoms does attempt to do something with nature that hasn’t been done before, however the majority of viewers would rather special effects were saved for James Bond movies.
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