REVIEW: ‘Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale’ is Wholesome and Enthralling

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Surviving Paradise A Family Tale - But Why Tho

There are still large swaths of terrain not inhabited by humanity, yet these areas are still swarming with life. Netflix invites you to spend some time in the Okavango Delta, in the Kalahari desert in their documentary film, Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale.

Directed by Renée Godfrey and Matt Meech, this beautiful film transports you into a world overflowing with life and undergoing constant dramatic weather changes as you witness the raw power of an ecosystem without human involvement. Narrated by the soft, dulcet tones of Regé-Jean Page, you are taken on a guided tour following a year in the life of a banished lioness, a pack of painted wolves, and a newborn elephant as they attempt to survive the omnipresent danger of their world.

Growing up in Britain, documentaries (especially ones focused on nature) are especially common. In fact, they were so common, I assumed as a child that only was making them. They would set the standard for me on how I expected to see these types of topics tackled, and presented. With that bar now set, I find myself surprised to admit at how I was so blown away by how sublime Surviving Paradise turned out to be. The docu-film isn’t just an assembly of some beautiful live-action footage of the wild. Oh no, it actually delivers on multiple levels that culminate in what is a truly enthralling and wholesome experience.

First and foremost, attention has to be called to the narration and the dialogue. Page’s soft-spoken voice eloquently delivers a script that captures the moment of the scene so perfectly. He evokes humor, danger, and fear, and it’s with the slightest change in pitch or the timing of his delivery. It’s such a slight change in his narrative, but it’s highly successful and the results are phenomenal. The dialogue itself has such a personality to it while also being so incredibly informative about a world bursting with activity.

The soundtrack for Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale further adds to the auditory experience of the film. The subject matter is so raw, passionate, and chaotic, and the music elevates the sense of adventure by intensifying an already powerful depiction of nature in its element.

Where the film truly peaks, however, is through the cinematography, and the entire concept of what’s being captured. Watching the film, it’s astounding to even fathom the investment in time it took to follow the film’s chosen animals and simply observe them in their habitat. Even then, Godfrey and Meech had to then condense all of that footage down in order for the film to find its voice. Whether it was obvious that was conceived from the start, or it happened organically through the editing process, I’ll never know, but regardless, the end result truly sings on screen.

Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale is a compelling documentary film that observes a year in the life of the animal residents of the Okavango Delta in the Kalahari desert. Narrated by Regé-Jean Page, the film provides a whirlwind guided tour into a region filled with dangers and the cast of characters that call this area home. The documentary is beautifully shot, and the direction of events is so meticulously conceived it even presents as a powerfully evocative story, rather than simply observing nature in its rawest form.

Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale is available now exclusively on Netflix.


Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL:DR

Surviving Paradise: A Family Tale is a compelling documentary film that observes a year in the life of the animal residents of the Okavango Delta in the Kalahari desert. Narrated by Regé-Jean Page, the film provides a whirlwind guided tour into a region filled with dangers and the cast of characters that call this area home. The documentary is beautifully shot, and the direction of events is so meticulously conceived it even presents as a powerfully evocative story, rather than simply observing nature in its rawest form.