Blue Planet II is the BBC’s newest nature documentary masterpiece. Filmed over the course of four years, the series takes a look at the wonder and hardship of life just above, on and below the murky waves.
And as the viewers marvel and commend the production for its wonderful efforts thus far, one moment from the show has captured the viewing public’s imagination, as it took us from one emotion to the next, in a scene tenser than any Hollywood thriller, simply because it is real, and happens every day.
They shocked audiences as they portrayed Mother Nature at her most tense and fierce best as viewers clung to the edge of their seats and prayed for the survival of a band of Brazilian crabs, who appeared to be completely at the mercy of not just of a hungry and slimy-looking Moray Eel, but also of a ravenous octopus.
It seemed as though fate was not on the side of the crabs, and fans at home went on the journey with them, as they navigated a set of circumstances so difficult, only nature could offer them up.
The resulting showdown between the majestic creatures that we’ve not seen since the awe-inspiring sequence between the iguana and the snake on Planet Earth II. Watch the crazy footage below:
The Moray Eel makes his appearance early on, and is seen sliming his way along the coast line looking for a few tasty morals for his dinner. At the same time, the hero of the show, the Brazilian crab, is also looking for some nourishment as he attempts to reach a patch of delicious seaweed. Well, delicious to him at least.
As the national treasure among national treasures Sir David Attenborough narrates to us: “The chain moray is a specialist crab hunter: its blunt teeth can easily grip and crush a crab’s shell.
“It’s the crab’s deadliest enemy.”
Damn right it’s the crab’s deadliest enemy, as the little hustler wasn’t too fond of the slipper eel, and the face-off between the pair that followed had viewers on the edge of their seats as the drama unfolded.
Then, as if the poor crab hadn’t had enough to contend with, a second adversary is thrown into the mix, as the crab now had to contend with an equally dangerous octopus, that was also partial to be a bit of crab.
I was reminded of that scene in Shaun of the Dead, when they’re trapped behind the bar as fire burns through the spilled booze, keeping the zombies at bay. Only for the zombies to come through the little swivelling door at the side, to which Shaun shouts: “OH GIVES US A F***ING BREAK!”
I bet those words were going through that crab’s little head in some form or fashion.
But eventually, the crab manages to cheat death and escapes to the relative safety of the rocks.
“Made it,” Attenborough concludes, with that tone only he can muster that beckons a sigh of relief for the nation. “Risking life and limb to graze on these seaweed pastures.”
This was just one scene for which the camera crew had to work tirelessly to capture. The production crew worked over the course of the long and arduous filming schedule, developing new technology to probe parts of the planet that are less explored than outer space, to give us shots and sequences that are hard to believe are real at times.
However, as universally loved and admired as the masterpiece programme is, some viewers have called the show out on one particular scene. The nation’s favourite grandfather Sir David Attenborough explained that of all the thousands of shipping containers that traverse the open oceans every day, at least four accidently fall into the sea every day. And one, back in 1992, fell into the ocean and was carrying thousands of plastic ducks.
Due to ocean currents and the fact that plastic takes hundreds of years to properly disintegrate, the ducks drifted across our oceans and wound up in Australia, Alaska, Scotland and the Arctic.
As charming and whimsical as that shot is, surrounded by wonder and spectacle on a grand and intimate scale, some viewers have called foul on the shot, and have said that the odds of the show’s camera crew filming the original duck incident is impossible, and given that the odds of chancing upon errant rubber duckies floating in the oceans are astronomical, the show’s camera crew instead opted to recreate the scene for the show.
Fans of the show took to Twitter to debate the scene.
One person wrote: “I reckon Attenborough is bullshitting us with this rubber duck bollocks.”
While another added: “I can’t tell whether Blue Planet II are having us on with this rubber duck story.”
Another person said: “Whys blue planet saying that a plastic duck travelled across 3 oceans in 15 years and ended up in Scotland love ya dave but not having that mate.”
And another asked BBC Earth: “Are those fake or the actual ones?”
Well, I think it can go pretty much without saying that Blue Planet didn’t include the ACTUAL footage of the ducks falling into the ocean, if indeed there is any. Most huge blockbuster Hollywood films in 1992 don’t have anywhere near the level of quality in their footage that Blue Planet on HD does. Hell, HD looks better than actual real life, so I think we can all agree on that one.
Only David Attenborough could make a rubber duck fascinating. #BluePlanet
— Elliot Naylor (@Elliot_Naylor) November 20, 2017
And to be fair to them, the BBC have been very upfront and open about with regards to how the crew organised some of their shoots with episode producer John Ruthven saying: “Reconstructing the release of these ducks presented the team with a fresh challenge. While we wanted to tell their story, the team was also well aware of the ironies of putting plastic ducks in the sea.”
“We were used to removing plastic from the ocean, and if we were to introduce any ourselves, we’d need to be very careful to make sure every single one was collected again afterwards.
“To film the re-enactment of the release was the biggest challenge, as part of it meant we’d need aerial drone footage of all 250 of them floating in the middle of the open ocean, and most importantly collect all 250 again.”
Before going off to shoot more footage, the team checked and checked and checked again to make sure that they had collected all 250 of the plastic ducks out of the water. The only ones that they did not manage to take back with them were the ducks that changed hands for the services of the Costa Rican team that helped them on the shoot.