It is rather telling that the only name mentioned in the opening credits of The Hunt is that of its narrator. Nature documentaries are two-a-penny these days; it takes something more than just close-ups of exotic beasts or thrilling fights to stand-out. Luckily for the BBC, they have a not-so-secret weapon in the form of Sir David Attenborough.
While his calming voice gives The Hunt a sense of gentle familiarity, it is never becomes boring or repetitive. This latest instalment for the Attenborough archive focuses on the methods with which predators stalk their prey – a clichéd matter of life and death.
Some will say that we have seen it all before, and that is probably true. The crocodile sneaking up on the unsuspecting wildebeest, the cheetah scampering after the sprightly gazelle, the chameleon crunching on a plethora of bugs. These images on their own are nothing new, but the narrative created makes The Hunt worth investing in.
No longer is it a question of hunter sees prey, prey gets caught: aren’t animals amazing? Through a combination of expertly captured footage – seriously, how the hell did they do that? – and Attenborough’s absorbing storytelling, The Hunt adds a level of emotion that has been lacking in previous documentaries. I have not felt this sad about a wildebeest stampede since The Lion King. Of course none of this would really matter if there were not the images to back the narration up. One of the highlights is towards the end, where attention is instead turned to camera crew and their struggle for the perfect shot. Similar to that of the animals they are shooting, it is a tale of patience, frustration and perseverance. What a lovely full circle we have come in.
The Hunt beautifully encapsulates the struggle of the predators, forcing you to question who you actually want to see victorious in the battle for survival. Stunning cinematography and the characteristic excellence of Attenborough ensure The Hunt stays well ahead of the pack.