There are 5 million species on Earth, and as diverse as they are, they’re all united in a will to survive. That point is driven home quite spectacularly in the documentary “One Life,” premiering on Nat Geo Wild on Dec. 8. From tiny insects to enormous whales and all sorts of land, sea, and air creatures in between, all living things need to mate, procreate, and protect and feed their young, and the myriad ways they accomplish those goals play out in the two-hour film, which is narrated by actor Daniel Craig.
Assembled from more than 10,000 hours of footage shot over 3,000 days in 12 countries, “One Life” captures never-before-seen examples of animal behavior and interaction, including a humpback whale mating sequence, capuchin monkeys cracking open palm nuts, and Komodo dragons stalking, lethally poisoning and waiting patiently to devour a buffalo. State-of-the-art cameras allowed directors Michael Gunton and Martha Holmes to obtain vivid up-close, you-are-there footage that chills, surprises and often charms, such as the mother elephant nudging her baby along and the tender courtship of a pair of sea birds. As Craig’s narration sums up, “We see so much of ourselves in them and them in us: strength, grace, determination, courage, even love.”
Janet Han Vissering, senior vice president of program development and production for Nat Geo Wild who worked on the project with BBC Earth, was particularly impressed by “the sequences of the two cheetahs taking down the ostrich," she said. "Their teamwork amazed me. The footage of the mother frog protecting her tadpoles is amazing. A mother protecting its young is a great relatable action that all mothers can appreciate. The surprising aspect is that you can see it in the mother frog.”
These animal behaviors can teach us that “as humans, we are not alone in our motivation for survival,” says Vissering. “We are all part of the animal kingdom and we share much of the same instincts that we see in this glorious documentary.” She hopes that viewers come away with “a sense of wonder and amazement from the creatures that share this planet with us.”