There’s a special place in our heart when we watch a show about animals, especially at a time when most of them are in a life-threatening situation due to the fire in Australia and the Amazon forest. We instantly become sentimentally conscious of what we are about to lose when we watch a landscape in wide-shot captured in wide-lenses.
Netflix’s docu-series Night on Earth captures wildlife with special effects that help us understand the vision of animals, literally, metaphorically and figuratively. The Netflix based series is not the first nature-focused series which introduces us to completely different creatures. But there’s something about the usage of colour on specific animals which aesthetically makes an effective point about carnivores, herbivores and thereby contribute in fostering a clearer perspective on the prey and the hunter.
There’s the clear vision of the night which is even more enjoyable if you are watching this series on a large screen with your lights switched off. If you own a 3D based home-theatre in your residence you are particularly fortunate. Night on Earth gives space to each animal the same chance to perform, except they are not performing, but some of them are aware of the presence of the camera and that’s what makes the series even more interesting. Some of these animals no longer fear the presence of the lenses while others remain in their usual naked nature.
There’s a lot of visual freedom, and if at some point you feel Samira Wiley’s narration as an interruption to your enjoyment you always have the option to watch the series without the sound and enjoy a reality about the wildlife. There’s nothing particularly wrong about Samira Willy’s narration, however, she narrates the tale in a manner that reminds you of a heart-to-heart conversation between a fairy-godmother and a Cinderella. Or the wise-goose in a Disney movie who is aware of all the prophecies. That might be a different experience for children below the age of 12, who are yet to understand the nature of animals. The writers engage in the psycho analyzation of these creatures which remain unnecessary, mainly when they try to add an emotional aspect to their behaviour. Or maybe it isn’t completely uncalled-for at a time when every member of the wild-life feels the lack of space in their forest. It answers a lot of ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ of survival instead of engaging themselves in ‘why’.
While venturing through Pacific Northwest, Thailand and Singapore the makers of Night on Earth completely focus on animals and their behaviour when humans come into their land without permission. There are various suggestions regarding the importance of the conservation of wildlife. This is mainly to denounce the act of hunting, and a show to shame those who celebrated the death of Cecil the lion. There’s a conscious effect to do what Steve Irwin tried to teach us back when National Geography became quite popular. A legacy that was carried forward by Bear Grylls, when he invites world leaders and world-famous celebrities to enjoy wildlife.
The shots are mainly taken at the time of night, or at dusk thereby there has been an additional usage of colour to correspond with the correct colour of nature. If you have ever been to the forest or looked up at the sky at night, you can distinguish between the fake stars in the film and the real ones.
There’s the mystical element about Night on Earth which beats the purpose of the Netflix series. Animals are treated like creatures from a different galaxy who are independent in their own wilderness. But if that becomes the glorified statement, the younger generation watching the series might find it difficult to understand that there are forests burning for real and animals are no longer in the safe-haven which we usually witness in a Disney movie. It would be wrong if we compare Night on Earth to any fictional film, however, it is equally important to remember that the wildlife isn’t as safe as Jon Favreau (director or Lion King) screenplays them to be. Thereby as a documentary, the show becomes slightly misplaced.