Review: Blue Planet II | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Blue Planet II

TV Critic Izzy Detheridge plunges into the stunning masterpiece that is Blue Planet II

Four years, 125 expeditions, 39 countries and 6,000 hours of footage in the making, Blue Planet II is the BBC’s latest masterpiece to grace our screens, once again featuring legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough and a moving score composed by Hans Zimmer. Achieving an eye-watering 9.7/10 rating on IMDb, this series is shaping up to be a contender for the top spot with 2016’s Planet Earth II.

The sequel to ‘the first ever comprehensive series on the natural history of the world's oceans’, The Blue Planet (2001), the new series sees Attenborough – now 91 – documenting the weird and wonderful lives of never-before-seen creatures that inhabit the endless blue. Viewers have been treated to a melange of ground-breaking footage, including a tusk fish using ‘tools’ to crack open a clam, and a giant trevally fish that leaps from the waves to seize unsuspecting birds from below for their next meal.

Technology has made it possible to go down further, get closer, and see clearer
Now technology has made it possible to go down further, get closer, and see clearer, Sir David and his crew can deliver the cutting edge of marine exploration to our Sunday screens, the most incredible of which is the story of survival in the Marianas Trench. Where pressure is more than the weight of 50 jumbo jets and the depth is greater than Mount Everest is high, fish dwelling near searing-hot undersea volcanoes at the subduction zone of two tectonic plates miraculously prevail on microscopic tit-bits of food that have drifted down from the surface. For science, this is ground-breaking, as this may be where life on Earth began.

But there is just as much excitement brewing at the surface, where bottlenose dolphins dive through the rippling waves for pleasure and social bonding. The camera crew spare no expense in terms of monitoring sea and wind conditions for weeks in anticipation of the perfect shots, and are almost overcome by vicious waves at one point when filming. For every shot of adrenaline, however, there is a touching feature to keep us riveted. The most notable one as yet is the moving footage of a mother walrus and her pup desperate for a slither of ice on which to rest from swimming so far, struggling futilely to fathom the disappearance of Arctic ice.


Viewers can be charmed and bewildered by the complexity of the planet on which we live, captured in stunning high definition and paired with an evocative soundtrack. Completed by the iconic voice of a British national treasure, Blue Planet II is a pleasant reminder of the amazing world around us, and that life is more than just what occurs on terra firma within the boundary of humanity’s influence.

The full, seven episode series of Blue Planet II is now available for streaming via BBC iPlayer

? Eternal student. Love to learn and explore Nature. ? Also love art, rock music and games. ? (@retrogamer_izzy)


19th December 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

The Guardian, Metro and BBC Earth