The Hunt (2015)
9.1/10
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In the Grip of the Seasons (Arctic) 

This episode discusses the challenging nature of hunting in the Arctic and how top predators, like the wolf and polar bear, must adapt to the changing seasons in order to survive.
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David Attenborough ... Self - Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

The extreme Arctic conditions require extraordinary adaptation, the boon of which varies greatly by equally different season. Polar bears feast of fat seals during winter, but as the ice melts they grew hungrier, sometimes desperate enough to climb on a cliff where penguins nest for safety. Polar foxes mostly survive as scavengers, but raise their young in the abundant sunny season, when nesting birds are easy prey. Growing hungry in winter, a pack of wolves risks their lives to fight down a giant wild ox for lack of easier prey. Written by KGF Vissers

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competition | beach | See All (2) »

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Documentary

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TV-PG | See all certifications »

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A gripping hunt in the Arctic
19 December 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

David Attenborough is nothing short of a national treasure. He may apparently dislike the term, but it is hard to not say that about such a great presenter who has contributed significantly to some of the best programmes (of the documentary genre and overall) the BBC has ever aired/produced.

It is really hard picking favourites, let alone a definite favourite, among what Attenborough has done because he has done so many gems, it is the equivalent of trying to choose your favourite ice cream flavour or your favourite operatic role (for examples) and finding you can't pick. To me though, 'The Hunt' is up there with his crowning achievements and one of the best documentaries ever viewed, and as has been said already there are a lot of great ones. It has everything that makes so much of his work so wonderful, hence some of the reiteration of my recent reviews for some of his work (being on a nature documentary binge in my spare time), and deserves everything great that has been said about it. After a breath-taking start with "The Hardest Challenge", "In the Grip of the Seasons" is no less inferior.

First and foremost, "In the Grip of the Seasons" looks 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 with some of the shots being unique for a documentary series, making one forget that it is a series. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery is pure magic, similarly really admired the wide-ranging diversity of the different landscapes rather than restricting it to just one habitat. The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.

Again, like so many Attenborough nature/wildlife documentaries, "In the Grip of the Seasons" fascinates, teaches, moves, entertains and transfixes. In terms of the facts there was a very good mix of the known ones and the unknown, some facts being familiar to us while going into detail about the different predators, what they do, how they adapt to their environments and why they act that way. Like with a lot of Attenborough, found myself learning a lot despite not being a slouch when it comes to knowledge of these different predators.

Throughout one is reminded that the aim is not to show gratuitous blood and gut to empathise that this is predators we're talking about. Instead the point is made that hunts do fail and the odds are against these predators, doing it without hammering it home or laying it on too thick. "In the Grip of the Season" does a great job with this.

Particularly notable parts are with the polar bear and the seal and with the ox.

It is expected for Attenborough's narration to help significantly, one isn't disappointed in "In the Grip of the Seasons" or throughout 'The Hunt'. 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 "behind the scenes/making of" scenes too gave some humanity to the series and allowed us to get to know those behind the camera as well as in front.

The predatory animals are big in personality and wide in range. The conflict has genuine tension and suspense, there is some fun and a lot of emotionally powerful moments done with a lot of tear-jerking pathos. Found myself really caring for what they're told and the wildlife. Like much of Attenborough/BBC's other work, "In the Grip of the Seasons" doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries it feels like its own story and journey, 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, gripping. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 2016 (USA) See more »

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