From the wildebeest migration to the ice floes of Alaska, we are so inundated with hype and overbaked replays that life’s miracles have become boring.
“Oh whaaaw they’re approaching the Maaahwra – look at all those craaacs just waiting for them,” we’re told as the camera zooms in on yet another wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River in Tanzania, reducing the greatest show on earth to a boring bloodbath. “The craaac’s got waaan!” we’re informed as if we are listening to a radio programme instead of witnessing the televised mangle for ourselves, not once, but several times – in real time, in slow motion, in backtrack and fastrack.
What has happened to the art of documentary-making that nature’s wonders, which are every bit life’s miracles, have to be hyped into the hereafter, with the same shots and commentary repeated rote-style, like we’re learning the alphabet. “W” is for Wildebeest; now watch the Wildebeest being mauled by the “C” is for Crocodile. Awww my gaaahd, that wildebeest nearly got away, but it didn’t. Out of the tens of thousands, it was not this one’s lucky day. Just look at that craaaac’s “J” is for Jaws. That’s “G” is for Gruesome.
You try to set your mind aside from it but you can’t so you switch channels and guess what, there’s another craaac, this time in Austraaahlia where some fellow called Pete with muscular thighs is searching for this prehistoric wonder’s eggs, assisted by his pet “P” is for Pitbull. Oh my gaaaahd Pete better hurry up because any moment the “K” is for Killer could return – that same kind of killer that whacked the wildebeest but a bit different because that was Aaahfrica and this Austraaahlia. Also this time it’s “M” is for Man versus not only Killer but Killermom.
To spice things up, there’s a surprise element. This time it’s not going to be Man versus Killermom, but Pitbull versus Killermom. You quickly switch channels to avoid watching Pete’s pitbull wrestling the crocodile or Pete vice-gripping the croc’s jaws, releasing his pet and being airlifted, pet under one arm and pockets full of eggs to be incubated to save the species.
On the next channel we meet Madge and Ron in some remote part of Alaaahska – pristine place of “B” is for Bears and “S” is for Salmon. Somehow Madge and Ron got it into their heads to leave behind the “R” is for “Ratrace” and head into the “S” is for Snow without finding out how to use their fancy new heating system. Oh my gaaahd, Madge and Ron have only three hours left before they freeze to “D” is for “Death”. They’re pushing all the buttons on the system and the commentary informs us they’re foxed.
Now a bear is clawing at their door. “M” is for Mayday, and Marge and Ron are maydaying but no one is listening. Oh gaaahd, this is baaahd. As “L” is for Luck would have it, a nearby river breaks its banks and a salmon swims past their front door, distracting the bear who runs off into the woods, fish in paw. As if this isn’t enough of a coup, a second salmon swims past Marge and Ron’s porch and they snatch it up. Now they’re eating it. Beautiful sushi. They’re munching away when a man materialises on a “S” is for Snowmobile and knocks on the door. Madge and Ron choke. They think it’s the bear.
Switch channels again and oh maaan, there’s the great white shark in Saaawth Aaahfrica’s southern Cape. The ancient of the deep is a diving attraction here. People come from all over the world to see what the documentary describes as a miracle monster because it has somehow survived for so long. This time we meet a man with a beard yellowed from smoking who is the cage-diving operator and he has a dog on board his boat, a poodle call Sharkey.
Fish slick is poured into the water to attract the “SP” is for Super Predator; which approaches the boat. Sharkey gets yappie and starts showing off for the tourists. He puts two front paws on the edge of the boat, and whooaaah. The last frame we see, shown in real time, slow motion, backtrack and fastrack, is of “J” is for Jaws, leaping from the surf, and showing whose sharkey. End of documentary, and yet another natural wonder bagged.