Spy in the Wild (2017 IMDb)

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

Categorization

Review refers to a Swedish-dubbed version by SVT.

Subject

Animatronics used in nature photography, purportedly to get closer to the animals without having people nearby altering their behaviour.

Commentary

Dishonest. Full of stories told in the cutting room, the way nature documentaries got made 40 years earlier. Footage actually shot by the animatronics takes up less time than shots of the animatronics using manually operated cameras, for the obvious reason that the former is mostly pointless. Only a few of the ideas are actually interesting, particularly the moving elephant dung stack that contains multiple deployable cameras, and the cameras in fish decoys for birds to pick up. Those two, like the Keartons’ ox of 1900, aren’t even animatronic.

The main point of interest here is not the unintentional tribute to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) but the workmanlike segments of actual nature documentary that don't have anything to do with the gimmick, like the orangutans washing their hands with soap and eating the foam, supposedly without ever having seen a human do it in living memory. The lemurs using a millipede’s toxin as a recreational drug are also fun.

documentary nature series