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Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.
Have been watching the BBC less over time, but there are always exceptions, unexpected gems and expected treasures that come our way every now and again and their nature documentaries are the perfect examples of expected treasures. 'Madagascar' is another David Attenborough gem, not quite one of his crowning achievements (favourites include both 'Planet Earth' series, 'Life', 'The Blue Planet' and 'Frozen Planet') but if anybody is a fan of nature/wildlife documentaries and of Attenborough 'Madagascar' is a must watch.
Once again, 'Madagascar' first and foremost is a wonderful looking series. 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. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery is pure magic. The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.
Along with so much of Attenborough's work, 'Madagascar' continually fascinates and illuminates, while there are some familiar facts here a lot of it was very much new. Like what was said for 'Life', by the end of the series for me more was gotten out of it, and educated me much more, than anything taught when studying Geography in secondary school. Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, 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 animals, plants and the island itself are portrayed in a way that showed a lot of enthusiasm and very careful research. How they adapt to their surroundings, why they behave the way they do, how nature works and how what the wildlife does affects the island were all touched upon and made their points subtly, not hammering it home too much (a potential danger with documentaries). 'Madagascar' was particularly good in its primary aims in showing how evolution ran wild and makes Madagascar different to everywhere else and why it's justified having a documentary of its own.
Many powerful and poignant moments, as well as suspenseful ones, while not trying too hard to evoke a viewer reaction. One really cares for what they're told and the wildlife. Each episode doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries each feels like their 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.
In summary, a gem and a must see. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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