Let’s be honest: nature’s fucking excellent. It’s weird and colourful and gooey and there’s LOADS of it. And if that’s what One Life had stuck to, it would be great. But this feature-length documentary lacks in focus as it tries to show us ALL OF NATURE. Meanwhile, Daniel Craig’s voiceover is desperate to convince us that in the fact that most animals both eat AND reproduce, they’re actually just like people.
But they’re not really, are they Daniel Craig? I like watching a seal in distress as much as the next guy (probably more), but just because it’s freezing itself to save its baby doesn’t make it human. And for all your boasts that the Capuchin Monkey has “changed the way we look at the natural world, and ourselves”, all that really means is a monkey hitting a nut with a rock. That’s brilliant, Daniel Craig, the monkey is going absolute apeshit (as it were) all over that nut, which makes for some great viewing, but hitting things with a rock does not cause me to fundamentally reevaluate my life. Not even the part I spend beating nuts.
That said, if we’re talking about seeing what we have in common with the animals, Daniel Craig seems to be doing it for us. He is TOTALLY DOWN with whatever those crazy little suckers want to do. After a five minute silence from our beloved narrator during a slow-motion montage of preying mantises getting tongued up by chameleons, the low, gravelly voice of our newest Bond whispers: “Delicious”. It’s nice that he’s so into it, but even then he can’t convince me that on some basic level I’m the same as the Darwin Beetle we just watched throw six other beetles out of a tree, before raping his lady-love and throwing HER out of the tree too.
In fairness, Mr. Craig is not solely to blame. The ‘epic’ school of music did a real number on One Life. There are some amazing shots that are genuinely awe-inspiring, but since they’re set to the same swelling music as the significantly less interesting establishing shots, you just get a bit numb to how impressive it actually is. One Life also adds in some odd sound effects, if nature didn’t do a dramatic enough job: Venus Flytrap eating too quietly? Munching sounds! Drop of water falling silently? Comedy falling whistle!
The core problem with One Life is that they’re not confident enough in the nature, so they have to tart it up with too much music and James Bond. I’d watch monkeys taking a bath anyway, and it’s just distracting. That said, still probably worth a watch while high, because it’s very funny to watch the “Jesus” lizard not just walking on water, but absolutely legging it.