Live Review: The Spectacular Planet Earth II Live Experience
As I watched the West Australian Symphony Orchestra breathe life into the majestic opening theme of David Attenborough’s famed nature documentary Planet Earth II, I felt a familiar yet age-old train of thought occurring to me: Humans are fundamentally, in the most blunt of terms dictated to us by the jurisdiction of biological science, animals. Amidst the commotion of nuclear threat, ‘fake news’, and perpetual debacle and debate, there is an abundance of things that primally unite us both as a species, and with the countless fellow living creatures with whom we share our planet. So, could the answer to more peaceful coexistence lie in the form of the universal language of music, and reflection upon our own behaviour and how it mirrors that of our ancestors and surrounding organisms? For two hours on a certain Friday night, I was tempted to conclude that this was the case.
The concert was narrated by one of Australia’s acting gems, Eric Bana, known for blockbusters such as Troy and The Time Traveller’s Wife—a seemingly unlikely choice to step into the distinctive shoes of David Attenborough. That being said, it appears that Bana’s objective was not to impersonate Attenborough at all; but rather, use his loveable Aussie charisma to introduce and deliver facts about each of the animals, sloth to snake, lizard to leopard, in a way that enraptured the rainbow of ages filling the audience. Impressively, his narration also managed to make me the most interested I’ve been in Biology since year 11.
The multi award-winning soundtrack of Planet Earth II boasts the talents of some of the most renowned screen composers of our generation- the likes of Hans Zimmer (known for the scores of films such as The Lion King and The Dark Knight trilogy), Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe. WASO masterfully executed the intricacies of each piece of the concert with the abundance of character and sensitivity needed to bring out the flavours and quirks of each of the animals in the clips, extracted from the hefty six hours of footage the television show was comprised of. The selection of extracts from the show were so masterfully melded together, and really gave an amazing scope into the diversity of life on our amazing planet. From rhythmically intense, adrenalin-pumping string sections during a lion chase scene to serene melodies melded overtop dreamy scenes on a tropical island, the ability for music to transport one has never been more apparent. Indeed, there’s something about live music being played overtop the most glorious footage of nature that is just so fitting. In a world that can feel so monotonous yet stress and drama-filled, one almost begins to wish that they had the excitement of a harvest mouse finding food for her young ones whilst fleeing from an owl, or the mischief of street monkeys in India snatching food away.
WASO’s Planet Earth II, with its fusion of animals and music, has the remarkable ability to remind us that mere existence is beautiful, the day-to-day is extraordinary and we are one as children of Earth. It is up to us to take the time to make of this what we wish; though with years ahead that will surely grow only tougher, unity is what we must ultimately strive towards.