Against all odds.
Ten years ago, the BBC gave us Planet Earth a stunning, informative, and strangely relaxing show depicting all the wonders of our planet as well as its flora and fauna.
From the depths of the sea to mountain peaks, Planet Earth presented us with dazzling portrayals of nature, but after just eleven episodes, it was over.
Now, ten years later, we have Planet Earth II, a season of six new episodes of the beloved show that premiered on November 6. And already, people are talking.
The fate of the season may have already been determined by the very first episode, and it all came down to one thrilling scene that people are calling the best TV ever made. Here’s what the scene editor had to say about it!
On episode one, “Islands,” we are presented with a specifically wild scene in which a young iguana escapes more snakes than you’ve hopefully ever seen in your life. The chase turns out to be something like an action movie, and as it turns out, episode editor Matthew Meech intended it to be that way.
“I’m a bit of a movie fanatic so I kind of pick things up from all over the place – big Hitchcock fan, Christopher Nolan, Scorsese Spielberg etc,” Meech said. “But cutting wildlife films are like cutting silent movies, it’s all about action/reaction. Also timing, be it for comedy or thrills. The narration can provide some of this, but you don’t want to make the pictures just wallpaper for the commentary. The shots need to speak for themselves.
“I really like to find a genre that fits with a sequence if I can, as it’s a subliminal way to ease people into a new story. On Africa, I cut a sequence with fighting giraffes in the style of a Western, in ‘The Hunt’ we did a wild dog hunt like a car chase in a Bourne film.”
He went on to describe the iguana-snake chase scene…
Action in the animal kingdom
“With the iguanas and snakes sequence we really wanted to set up the feeling that something wasn’t quite right when the first iguana pops out, so as to make the first wide shot, when the snakes start creeping up on him, really stand out.
“There was so much good footage that we couldn’t tell the story of just one iguana so we found a way of using all the great chase moments. As well as some of the more grisly footage (although there’s a limit to how much you want to see of that).
“One of the amazing things about the encounter was that it was shot at such a high speed. So in real life those things are moving much, much faster. It’s incredibly hard to film them while running and keep everything in focus. But sometimes the focus didn’t matter as the moment was so intense. The music and sound design was obviously a big part of it too. The work everyone did was amazing.”
How about when the iguana is getting coiled up by several snakes at once? THAT is action!
Watch it in all its glory here!