Review: Planet Earth In Concert @ WMC
Two words that kept popping into my head as I sat in my chair watching Planet Earth In Concert at Wales Millennium Centre. As I watched I thought about how I was going to review the experience and I don't think words could actually convey how amazing it was.
With the full Philharmonia Orchestra at the ready and a large screen above them I wondered how it would work, I haven't seen much of the Planet Earth series so didn't know what to expect.
The show started with how the Earth was formed, a thrilling ride through space and time, settling at an aerial shot of Earth as we know it now. This left me speechless and I knew I was in for good night.
The evening was spread out into different sections, from first steps to hunter and hunted.
Each had a different piece of music, which matched perfectly as they had been written for the scenes.
My favourite was first steps. This section included baby penguins, polar bears and a type of duck. The section was to show reaction to first seeing the Sun and being left to walk alone. It was extremely funny and the music embellished it like nothing else could. The baby chicks had to jump from a nest up in a tree to have their first steps. This was thrilling to watch and the tension in the music built and built as they fell. This made you worry that they would not land safely. The piece ended with a crash as the chick hit the earth and bounced up finally managing those first steps. The polar bear cubs were just as entertaining as they struggled out of their burrow in the snow and proceeded to roll down the hill on their backs and play fight with their brothers and sisters.
The concert was well balanced and showed nature as it was, nothing hidden. This was realised in the second half in the section hunter and hunted. It provided rare and fascinating scenes that revealed life in the wild for animals that evade being captured on film. The rarest was the snow leopard who prowled the sides of mountains in Pakistan, with its white and black mottled fur it blended perfectly into the mountainside so much so that the cameraman had thought he saw a 'leopard-shaped rock moving' and only realised it was a leopard when he used his binoculars. The scene shows two deer slowly trying to get down the mountain and the leopard on the prowl, creeping up and then darting forward just missing the deer, he chases it down the hill side and catches it by the tail trying to pull it back up. He misses his chance the first time as the deer enters a stream but he won't miss a second time, catching a second deer by the throat and dragging it back to its cave where the female waits. It was shocking to watch but it is after all nature and these things happen.
I could probably write a paragraph on each section and how amazing they were but as there are thirteen sections I will spare you that! I will write about one more section and then if you ever get the chance to see this again then jump at the chance!
The last section of the first half was a diary type section of the camera crews; this really gave a personal feel to the films we had watched. The patience of these people must be in bucket loads because I for one couldn't do it. One of the guys had built a hideaway so he could capture a bird; he was there 118 hours before he got the shots! Dedication isn't even the word for it! Not only that but two different guys had been sent out to capture the snow leopard I mentioned earlier; it took five months - three months for the first guy who never saw it and two months before the second guy saw it. It also features two of the crew using a hot air balloon to get up in the air to capture birds; the steering wasn't all that great and it wasn't long before they end up in a tree, which was extremely funny.
This was a great experience that I cannot fault and the 2000 days in the field at over 200 locations worldwide in 64 different countries was definitely worth it!