Framed primarily as the story of the child Hiro and pack leader Kuro in a 160-strong pack of Japanese macaques, in Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano.
The partly very unnatural environments are telling. These monkeys are clearly protected—at least from their natural predators—and accustomed to a human presence. I assume the story has been cleaned up, but it’s beautifully filmed. The local species of monkey makes a good symbol of primitive humanity and our link to nature, as they are used in Baraka (1992).
The narration is surprisingly poor for the BBC, but then again, this is John “Spy in the Wild” Downer at work. The theme music sounds like a knock-off of TRON: Legacy (2010). Still, the subject and cinematography are interesting enough.
One of the camera operators gets to be a star commentator, despite and presumably because of his profound ignorance of the subject. He actually intersperses his inane attributions of human sentiments to the monkeys with exclamations like “Is amazing!” With an expert commentator it would have been good.