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Frozen Planet by George Fenton (Review)

posted Apr 26, 2013, 7:12 AM by Kaya Savas

While the height of BBC’s nature docs came to mass popularity with Planet Earth, they had been actually producing some great work beforehand. The Blue Planet actually came before Planet Earth and George Fenton has always been the go-to composer for David Attenborough and the BBC team. His impressive filmography has established himself as one of the great British composers, and he literally changed the way nature documentaries were scored. Frozen Planet is not as widely scattered as say Planet Earth was. We are dealing with certain climates and wildlife specific to those regions so the music takes on a more steady identity. There is an overarching feel that encompasses everything yet it still has little moments that separate themselves from the rest. The result is a splendid one. 

The music, like in Fenton’s past work, guides us on a journey while introducing us to new animals. Fenton does score the moments in their pure essence, be it “Surfing Penguins” or “Elephant Seal Duel”. These moments definitely stand on their own but still feel like they’re part of the big picture. It’s an interesting effect that is happening. Music is our own emotional tool. It connects us humans emotionally to whatever is going on. So in a way Fenton is translating animal behavior into emotional movements for us to connect to. That is why his work is so essential to the success of all the BBC produced nature docs. Most nature shows have some generic stock music in the background, but when you hear something like Frozen Planet you will understand the amazing results of a masterful structured approach to the music. At times this listen feels like a film score with rousing action, character quirks, building tension and believable atmosphere. All of these characteristics help make Frozen Planet another memorable journey into the natural world around us.

George Fenton’s talent for taking us around the world to see and feel animals in their natural habitat is undeniable. He also does all of it with music. His music must share the speakers with David Attenborough’s narration and in the final mix the full effect is still there. Fenton is a genuine talent when it comes to his approach for all of his BBC Earth scores. Frozen Planet is another wonderful journey worth taking.