On the "fakeness" of nature documentaries


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/24/on-the-fakeness-of-nature.html


Watch: nature documentaries are phony
#2

Here’s one I’ve been suspicious about for some time:


#3

While I’ve seen penguins in the tropics I guess I never thought about them commuting.
I’ve snorkeled with them… they swim like a bullet.


#4

“The ocean abounds with fearsome creatures, but none attacks its prey with more fury than the seaweed shark …”


#5

There are penguins native to the Galapagos islands. They can be found on 4 continents, which just goes to show what great flyers they are.


#6

Speaking of fake nature documentaries, did you know that the idea of lemmings killing themselves in mass migrations is a work of fiction, an utter lie?

Disney made it up using clever camera work:


#7

I like Reggae Shark myself.


#8

@beschizza looks like you and Mark posted the same video.

Interesting that 99%invisible just did a show on this -


#9

24-hour stream of nature with no music or narration

Natural Dogme 95!


#10

That would have been more enjoyable to watch without the crappy, canned muzak in the background.


#11

Got a bad edit at 3:28.


#12

The Galapagos 'guins are the only wild ones north of the equator … which makes for a good pub quiz question … and I’ve used it that way in the past :slight_smile:


#13

I’m not sure I accept the assertion that nobody would watch nature documentaries if they were just a long list of facts about animals. I’m pretty sure that’s MOSTLY all they were in the 1970s (“Wild Kingdom”, “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”) and I watched the f@#$ out of them.

Yeah “Wild Kingdom” may have manufactured some drama when it was time for a chase, but it was NOTHING like Planet Earth. I had to stop watching the latest series after a couple of episodes because I found the over-the-top anthropomorphizing of the animals so unscientific and distracting.


#14

Just send in Jim for all the drama you will ever need.


#15

Fake gnus!

Sad!


#16

While Jim is wrestling that Boa Constrictor, let’s talks about our sponsor Mutual of Omaha.


#17

Having watched all of both series, I felt like the 2nd series had more ‘young animals getting away’ and also more sound effects with some of the smaller things. At times it was actually a bit distracting. A mouse running through some brush for instance had all these practically human sounds… I also had a similar feeling when watching the editing and humanization that took place for different interactions. It can feel contrived at times. I suppose that is what all of reality TV is doing. As long as it doesn’t ultimately misrepresent the info - and BBC is pretty good at not doing that - then I think it’s all pretty passable.


#18

I couldn’t get past how jarring the “storytelling” painting was, intercut several times through the video. Sure, Mark Twain is a great storyteller, but who the heck paints him into a campfire scene with Ronald Regan, Teddy Roosevelt, Ben Franklin, et al. Just completely out of place.


#19

#20

I remember watching Winged Migration many years ago and everybody was oohing and ahing about the great photography (early drones, ultralights, etc). There’s a scene at 1:04:00 where there’s a poor birdie who ‘just happens’ to have a broken wing on a beach and is surrounded by crabs. All the sinister music is there but I couldn’t help wondering if it was a drone that collided with him and then suddenly I was wondering how many other birds had had collisions in the making of it. I guess you can’t make omelets without breaking eggs.