Friday, December 4, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 40
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BEST WISHES, WARMEST REGARDS: A SCHITT’S CREEK FAREWELL
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
FIRST COW
GREYHOUND
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
HAPPIEST SEASON
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LYING AND STEALING
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (2011)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE OPERATIVE
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN
THE VAST OF NIGHT
TREAD
TV REVIEW: BOSCH
TV REVIEW: COBRA KAI
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EVIL
TV REVIEW: FEAR CITY
TV REVIEW: GENERATION KILL (2008)
TV REVIEW: HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK
TV REVIEW: JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: PANDEMIC: HOW TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK (2020)
TV REVIEW: RAISED BY WOLVES
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MORNING SHOW
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: TRIAL 4 (2020)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
VINYL NATION

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet lays out humanity’s devastating impact on Earth and suggests a way to fix it

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF ALTITUDE FILM ENTERTAINMENT

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET


Where is it playing?: Netflix

What's it rated?: PG

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (1 Votes)

Calling it his “witness statement,” natural historian David Attenborough lays out his case against humanity’s impact on the natural world, demonstrating through three evolving statistics—world population, parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and percent of worldwide wilderness—the increasing damage humans have done. In 1937, when Attenborough was a boy, the stats were 2.3 billion people, 280 ppm, and 66 percent wilderness left. Today, just 83 years later, we’re at 7.8 billion people, 415 ppm, and just 35 percent wilderness. He makes the case that the Holocene period is being eclipsed by the Anthropocene, a sixth mass extinction on Earth and the first to be caused by a species—humans. (83 min.)

Glen: In case you’re not depressed enough, tune in to Attenborough’s new Netflix documentary A Life on Our Planet, which opens with the famed British broadcaster walking through the ruins of Pripyat, the Ukrainian town that was abandoned after the Chernobyl meltdown—one of the many “mistakes” humans have made during their stewardship of Earth. As he looks through the deserted town, he narrates key moments of his life and work with the BBC exploring untamed places, from Africa’s Serengeti to the Arctic, from the rainforest to Antarctica. Over his long career, he explains that he’s seen firsthand the effects we’ve had on the planet we call home—the loss of biodiversity, the dying ocean coral reefs, the greedy harvesting of natural resources. It’s a remarkable condemnation of human activity, a stunning rebuke of our behavior. But he notes something important—now devoid of human presence, Pripyat is returning to the wild, with flora and fauna flourishing. Despite what we’ve done, Attenborough sees a path out of our mess by re-wilding the world.

Anna: A path perhaps, but an increasingly narrower one to be sure. At 94 years old, Attenborough has certainly seen a lot of change over his lifetime, but he recognizes that even in his early days, humanity was already on a path to destruction. While our usual association with his work and voice is centered on the natural beauty of land and sea, this scathing look at our disregard for the destruction and ruin we’re responsible for weighs heavy. Attenborough supposes what will happen in 10, 20, 50 years down the road if we stubbornly refuse to take our stewardship of the Earth seriously. Eating a plant-based diet, turning toward renewable energy, and ending our exploitation of the natural world to gain unsustainable resources are all key to healing what we have blatantly destroyed. I don’t have much faith that most people are interested in giving up their comfort or habits to heal the world, but luckily for our planet, we will destroy ourselves long before we destroy nature’s ability to overcome. It’s a grim truth, but one we would do much better to learn now rather than later.

Glen: I agree. I think he’s more hopeful than I am at the prospect of humankind righting its wrongs. The bottom line is there are just too many of us, and the poorer and less educated are most likely to produce the most children, continuing the cycle. Raising living standards and education access for all is the key, and Attenborough does point to a handful of examples of regions making the right choices, such as Costa Rica’s reversal of its deforestation, Palau’s rebuilding of its fisheries, and the Netherlands’ innovative land use and agricultural practices. Mixing gorgeous shots of nature with horrifying examples of human destruction, it depicts a civilization at a crossroads. Will we continue down this selfish path, turning our whole planet into Pripyat, or will we have the political will and wisdom to make the sacrifices and hard choices to save ourselves and our home? Attenborough is hoping for the latter rather than the former.

Anna: It’s a hard look at a difficult subject, and not one that’s easy to confront. The beauty of nature contrasted with the ugly truth of destruction is an effective method for getting his point across, and Attenborough is adept at presenting both truths. He’s a treasure as a filmmaker and advocate for nature, and the fact that he’s still at it at 94 years old is a gift. Is this film a big bummer? For sure. Does it still offer hope? Yep. I have no doubt that Attenborough has to keep hope alive to continue his work. Perhaps it will serve to educate and inspire, surely what it is meant to do as opposed to depress and dishearten. I encourage all to watch, just know A Life on Our Planet may not leave you feeling a whole lot of faith in things actually turning around. It’s an important look at the harsh reality we live with today. 

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
Would a second stay-at-home order be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19?

No, pandemic fatigue is too high to get people to follow a stay-at-home order.
Yes, we need it, otherwise our hospitals will be in rough shape.
Local governments should get a say—not all purple tier counties are the same.
It would be bad news for the economy.

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