Like another of David Attenborough's epic BBC documentary series, Planet Earth
, narrated by the charismatic Peter Firth, links seemingly disparate elements in ecosystems to teach interconnectedness and wilderness ethics. The BBC is still at the forefront of nature documentaries that promote environmentalism, and this one marks yet another milestone in progressive ecological education through film. Taking a wide view of America's first national park, Yellowstone
is demarcated episodically by season, beginning with winter and ending with the following autumn. Each show combines footage of the flora and fauna in its chosen habitat. Yet rather than dramatizing the narrative through anthropomorphizing animals, the film achieves its drama through the detailed geographical and geological information about why and how Yellowstone became such a spectacular location. The first episode, "Winter," opens with a wolf pack prowling the snow for weak elk and proceeds to show stunning, rare clips of red foxes, river otters, and bison foraging or hunting to survive in the frigid climate. All these animals merely populate a scene explained as a set of valleys carved by weather. One sees massive elk and pronghorn antelope migrations from aerial views. In "Summer" one gets a much-needed dose of baby animal footage to balance all that starvation and ice. Wolf pups and bear cubs frolicking in streams will please any viewer. Flowers bloom around glacial lakes, otter and buffalo courtships unfold, and other mammals lazily bask in the sunshine before wildfire season. "Autumn" focuses less on animals than on volcanic action in the 20,000 acres of wild space. In all, a holistic picture emerges, one in which weather and geography are crucial to life. While Yellowstone
only briefly covers the impact of tourism on the park, it clearly indicates that wilderness must remain wild for such delicate balance to exist. --Trinie Dalton
In a land of beauty and peril, the dramatic lives and fortunes of these animals are inexorably bound together. Intimate and emotional, epic and engaging, Yellowstone - Tales from the Wild reveals the grandeur of this unique place as its animals struggle to survive over the course of three vividly changing seasons.