There are two streaming services that we are permanently subscribed to – (1) HBO Max because it comes bundled with our phone plans, and (2) Disney+ because…. we have kids. :-)
As we’ve explored Disney+ content in the past year, we’ve become fans of Disneynature – Disney’s wildlife and nature focused studio. While we’ve not completed the set yet, the stories and filmography have been very compelling. Here are a few shows we’ve loved –
(1) Dolphin Reef: 10/10 – Narrated by Natalie Portman, this is a beautiful show that brings together the tales of a Dolphin family and a Humpback whale family. It has some beautiful moments interweaved with moments of tension – e.g., when the Humpback whales call to others for help when they’re attacked by Orcas.
(2) African cats: 10/10 – Narrated by Samuel Jackson, this features a movie-worthy story about a set of lions and a family of Cheetahs in the same territory. You will fall in love with characters like Mara (a lioness cub) and Sita (a mother cheetah).
(3) Polar bear: 10/10 – A stirring story about the life of polar bears from the viewpoint of a polar bear who describes how much the Arctic has changed since she was a cub. She refers to polar bears as “ice bears” – what will Ice bears do without ice?
(4) Monkey Kingdom: 10/10 – Narrated by Tina Fey, this is a mindblowing story that showcases just how widespread the idea of “caste” is among monkeys. This is the story of a mother who is born into the lowest rung in her tribe and her subsequent journey to royalty. It is a fascinating watch – one that made me reflect about the similarity in the structure of human societies.
(5) Penguins: 9.5/10 – A beautiful coming-of-age story about an Adelie penguin called Steve. Steve has many obstacles to overcome – including leopard seals and orcas – and he does so with the help of a lot of luck and skill.
(6) Bears: 9/10 – a beautiful story of the journey taken by a family of 3 Alaskan bears to… survive. It shows the 2 bear cubs learning a series of life lessons from an experienced mother who will leave no stone unturned in her quest to help them grow into adulthood.
(7) Born in China: 8.5/10 – Born in China covers multiple storylines – featuring Panda, Cranes, Snow leopards, and Golden Monkeys. Lots of interesting stories and fascinating imagery from remote parts of China. Each of these animals carry a lot of significance in China – they also comprise the list of core characters in “Kung Fu Panda.” :-)
(8) Ghost of the Mountains: 8/10 – this is the story of the film crew who go on an expedition to capture footage of the elusive “Snow Leopard” (who we see in “Born in China.” This filled me with gratitude for the passion and persistence of film crew who go above and beyond to make movies that educate and inspire us.
(Not Disney Nature) Secrets of Wild India: 10/10 – Secrets of Wild India isn’t a Disney nature show. But, oh my, this may be one of my favorite Attenborough productions. It helped me see India in new light as the team spotlights how species and human life in India live with each other because of a culture that attempts to live harmoniously with wildlife.
There’s also a line at the end that gave me goosebumps. After the Indian Cheetah became extinct, the Indian Black Buck has no predator who can compete with its phenomenal speed of 50 miles per hour/80 kilometers per hour. David Attenborough calls attention to a project to reintroduce the Cheetah in India. To this, Attenborough says (paraphrased from memory) – “Maybe the Black buck will then remember the reason for its phenomenal acceleration.”
That line gave me goosebumps.
I thought I’d document these notes as we watch more of these shows with our kids. Every one of them has filled us with awe and wonder while reminding us of the importance of living more sustainably.
I hope you find them useful. More to come.