Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.
Am a great fan of both 'Planet Earth' series and 'The Blue Planet' in particular of Attenborough's work. 'Frozen Planet' is another masterpiece and is on the same level as them. Expectations were high, expectations were met and went beyond that, 'Frozen Planet', along with 'Planet Earth II' transfixed, fascinated, moved and educated me more than any other documentary seen in a long time and is an example of how documentaries should be done. Like what was said for 'Planet Earth II', and how is felt about 'Planet Earth' and 'The Blue Planet', one forgets they're watching a documentary and instead feeling like they're watching art. As hyperbolic as this all sounds, to me and many others the acclaim is more than deserved and even with many fans and a high rating here 'Frozen Planet' is perhaps not praised enough.
'Frozen Planet', as to be expected, looks utterly amazing. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The scenery and habitats are some of the most breath-taking personally seen anywhere, whether in visual media and real life, wildlife, underwater, cave and volcano landscapes are done in a way that will leave even not-so-devoted nature documentary viewers on a whole new level of speechless. How the Arctic and Atlantic surroundings and how they're populated look during each season also fascinates and illuminates, even the controversial climate change episode, and the behind the scenes stuff adds a touch of honesty and humanity, such as the getting trapped in the wind and filming the orcas (killer whales).
George Fenton's music score soars majestically, rousing the spirits while touching the soul. It not only complements the visuals but enhances them to a greater level. Some of my favourite work from him in fact, coming from someone who's liked a lot of what he's done.
Can't fault the narrative aspects in 'Frozen Planet' either. There are things already known to me, still delivered with a lot of freshness, but there was a lot that was quite an education and after watching the full series it honestly felt like the series taught me a lot (and no it's not just the Latin names for the animals), much more so than anything in my secondary school Geography class. "To the Ends of the Earth", "Spring" and "Winter" were especially good. Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.
The animals themselves are a wonderful mix of the adorable (the penguins, have somewhat of a bias due to loving penguins to bits) and the dangerous (the wolf). There were some truly powerful moments, including the wolf and bison attack, that was unlike any other nature documentary captured attack there's ever been. Powerful in ways that are heart-wrenching and harrowing, lots of suspense and pathos in 'Frozen Planet'.
None of the episodes feel episodic or repetitive, or even feel like episodes. 'Frozen Planet' instead feels like a collection of six individual stories with real, complex emotions and conflicts and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several.
Overall, utterly mesmerising and will unfreeze the iciest of hearts. 10/10 Bethany Cox