Review: Water Life (2009)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Rodriguez Llano, Ramon Campoamor | 700 minutes | documentary

Good example is good to follow. After the enormous – and justified – success of the BBC production “Planet Earth”, several production companies have been inspired to similarly record the splendor of Mother Earth. The Spanish filmmakers of “Water Life” chose water as the theme, in all its beautiful and sometimes extreme forms. Anyone who only expects to be served a refined aquarium is wrong; After all, water is the source of all life on this planet, and so, in addition to fish, water birds and other animals that live in the vicinity of seas, lakes and rivers, we also see, for example, dromedaries in the desert and sloths in the jungle.

The shots are absolutely beautiful: the animals are often filmed in close up, often even extreme close ups, so that every detail is beautifully portrayed. The nature documentary also provides beautiful overview shots of areas where water plays a clear, but sometimes less obvious role. Finally, we also regularly see very strongly enlarged images of micro-organisms in their translucent shapes; it is all swarming with each other and because you cannot see these animals with the naked eye, you cannot imagine them much. This makes the regular insertion of these images somewhat unnecessary.

The voice-over is monotonous and often not interesting enough to hold the viewer’s attention. The same goes for the music. It is predictable which tune will be heard when. Think, for example, of a stirring melody in a shot of a hunting animal and its prey.

“Water Life” consists of 26 episodes, each lasting approximately 25 minutes. That is a long journey, especially when you consider that the documentary, apart from the sometimes spectacular images, is sometimes repeated in repetition. It is true that a different starting point is taken for each episode: dark water, usable water, protective water, borrowed water, salt forests, to name but a few examples, but halfway through the episode one often falls back on images that are also in another episode. fit well. While this may seem inevitable, it does not clarify the structure. Sometimes the makers have tried to bring some humor into the images by means of editing, which is very striking in the episode about the mangroves: the crabs that, when the water withdraws from their habitat, have to take care of their food at lightning speed; the accelerated shots make it a funny sight, especially with the images of the crab beckoning with its scissors (as if he wants to tell his peers to hurry). Or the funny Sahara resident, who looks mischievously into the camera and licks his eye with his tongue, for example: unique visual material, which the makers also realized this themselves, as evidenced by the fact that they have included this piece in the leader of the series.

Ultimately, at least for the images, “Water Life” is certainly worth viewing, although it is in any case advisable to spread this over several stages.

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