By Shweta Parande
“Family is power – more dramatic than any work of fiction…” reads the tagline of Sony BBC Earth’s wildlife series Dynasties II, and it couldn’t be truer in the jungle life.
While the first season of Dynasties showed “Five extraordinary animals (the penguins, chimpanzees, lions, painted wolves and tigers), each in a heroic struggle against rivals and against the forces of nature, fighting for their own survival and for the future of their dynasties”, the second season the popular series showcases the story of a puma, an elephant, a cheetah and a hyena, and their families. The theme of Dynasties II is ‘Legacy Must Live On’.
In each episode, we see a captivating story of how each of the species, and especially the leader of the pack, strives to ensure a legacy. Whatever it takes, for the family to survive and thrive, is the show’s storytelling theme.
Dynasties II has been shot in various locations around the world, from the plains of Zambia, the frozen Andes in Patagonia, shared by Chile and Argentina, to the grasslands under Mount Kilimanjaro. The cinematography is breathtaking and fit for big screen viewing.
Whether these stories are entirely real or partly created from stock shots, will be up for debate. Sir David Attenborough, who has narrated all the Dynasties series, reveals in a video that all the footage is real and shot exactly as it happened, many a times in trying circumstances for the crew.
There are scientists watching it, who name the animals and figure out what is happening.
Yes, something feels real here, with stock shots only being used for effect and to get the right expressions and reactions of the animals according to the narration. Or is the narration built upon the footage? It could be a mix of both.
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All wildlife content that we see on the various channels and even documentaries like the recent Oscar Award-winner from India, The Elephant Whisperers, or Netflix and WWF’s series Our Planet, is painstakingly created out of hours of footage. There are so many stories to be found within each story.
This season of Dynasties has chosen to focus on legacy and has brought out a part of the life story of each species beautifully, with some heartwarming moments. The visuals also go easy on the gore, unlike most wildlife content.
The Sony BBC Earth series is a treat to watch, with gentle narration by Sir David Attenborough, who has also narrated Dynasties season 1 and Meerkat: A Dynasties Special. It will partly remind you of the aforementioned Netflix and WWF series Our Planet, which has also been narrated by Sir David Attenborough in his trademark fashion.
The episodic directors of Dynasties the series have done a splendid job. The music and background music is dramatic and soothing as the need be, and really helps build up the tension, giving the series a feature film-like feel. If screened in a cinema theatre, Dynasties the series would be as good as a fictional movie based on forest life and survival. A must watch.
The six-part series Dynasties II released on Sony BBC Earth on March 20, 2023.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the first two episodes of Dynasties II.