26 September 2023

Our Great National Parks

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Directors: Sarah Peat, Emma Brennand, Joanne Scofield, Sarah Conner, Patrick Evans.

Documentary series: Wild Space production in association with Higher Ground Productions and Freeborne Media.

The spectacular wonders featured in Our Great National Parks allows us to more than celebrate our planet’s greatest national parks and wildernesses. Magnificently showcased are the incredible habitats that exist globally. We get to experience national parks as we never have before, revel in captured dramatic natural spectacles and absorb surprising animal behaviours.

Educational content is in abundance in this five-part documentary series narrated by former president of the United States Barack Obama. We get to see wild open spaces not as empty areas, but important places of value and relevance to us all.

It’s wonderful to behold the visual treats of some locations around the world — including the amazing Kakadu National Park and the stunning Great Barrier Reef. From the comfort of your lounge room, you are able to get up close and explore the secrets of some of the most extraordinary parks on the planet that are a haven for endangered species and a hotbed for scientific research.

Spanning five continents, the series also abounds with confidence and humour as each episode tells the story of a national park through the lives of its wildest residents — both big and exceptionally small — and explores our changing relationship with the natural environment. It takes a decidedly optimistic approach to the problems affecting our planet, shows us what we can do — and what we’ve been doing thus far — to better our world.

Travelling from the waters of Monterey Bay, California, to the bright red soil of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, the lush rainforests of Indonesia’s Gunung Leuser National Park, the majestic terrain of Chilean Patagonia, and more, Our Great National Parks beckons us to get out and explore, create new ways for these wild places to thrive and vigorously preserve them for future generations.

Unveiled are stunningly beautiful seascapes and landscapes. Beyond belief is the cinematography sweeping us through isolated topography with snug close-range shots of amazing creatures that are mind-blowing. As Obama says: “A fish that can walk. Surfing hippos that want to catch the waves. Species found nowhere else on earth … A journey through the natural wonders of our shared birthright.”

Expect the unexpected; with novel discoveries, never-before-seen images and unusual animal conduct that’s never been documented before, such as the ‘speed-dating’ of blue whales.

Confidently envisaged and smartly executed, this series was filmed in 10 countries, and was spearheaded by executive producer James Honeyborne (of Emmy Award- and BAFTA-winning Blue Planet II), executive producer Tonia Davis and series producer Sophie Todd.

  • Our Great National Parks is streaming on Netflix

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