Among the countless nature documentaries, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, but “One Life” is indeed a new addition to the genre. Under the auspices of the BBC, the creators of “Earth” have once again captured fascinating images of the wide variety of life on Earth. Admittedly, we have seen one species (elephants) more often than the other (flying fish), but these types of movies are not about which animal is being filmed, it’s about how it is filmed and what the context of the whole is. Advances in camera techniques (the so-called “Yogi Cam”) and new speeds at which can be filmed in HD make the swordfish appear even sharper, and the pebble path even slower, although the sound effects also contribute a lot.
Daniel Craig’s voice tries through several detours to show us the differences, but especially the similarities between diverse animals from all continents, where about three thousand days were filmed over the past four years to portray a life – what life, that is not clear, but the idea of the makers is expressed in the search for similarities. A seal mother’s care for her newborn cub is thus linked to a tropical frog, and the terrifying way in which a group of Komodo dragons catch a buffalo to three cheetahs that measure their speed with that of two ostriches. The outcome is certain, but the race is very impressive. The resemblance to humans becomes evident when the hunting behavior of dolphins is studied, or when the capuchin monkeys are followed when they obtain their food with the aid of tools. The message – ever present in nature documentaries – is that we must share the planet with each other; we share the future with all life on earth. This conclusion is not comprehensive, but neither is the documentary. The ultimate portrait of (life on) our earth is almost impossible to make, but the attempts at it are very interesting.