The arrival of “Tiny Creatures” on Netflix proves that it is not impossible to shoot a documentary amid the pandemic. Unfortunately, the so-called nature documentary has drummed up controversy regarding its production.
Directed by Emmy-Award winning cinematographer Jonathan Jones, the eight-episode Netflix original show features – as the title implies – little animals across the US and their daily adventures.
It also evidences their struggle to save themselves from natural predators, but with an all too coincidental narrative.
The first episode begins with a Kangaroo Rat in Arizona and his captivating escape from a rattlesnake, a Gila monster and a dirt bike. The rest of the show features a hamster in New York, an owl in Minnesota, a mouse in Texas, a squirrel in Louisiana, ravens and rats in the Florida Everglades, a duckling in Washington and a skunk in New Hampshire.
The fresh concept behind “Tiny Creatures” makes it an enjoyable series and the project, when combined with Jonathan Jones’s cinematography, creates a thrilling watch. The screenplay is also exhilarating, with the narration adding to the drama.
Yet, although the animals featured on the series appear to reside in their natural habitat, the series is actually scripted – despite the fact it is advertised as a “documentary” on Netflix.
While each episode is supposedly set across various states in the US, the majority of the footage was actually shot in Jonathan’s studio, located in the backyard of his home in Hingham, England.
This has given rise to viewer backlash, with some claiming that the show has infringed on animal welfare.
Jonathan, nonetheless, claims he is justified by the fact he sought professional help for all the animals that were used in the filming.
He also said that he shot scenes featuring predators and prey on different days, so the so-called cruelty that is seen on screen is in fact created by cleverly edited cinematography.
So the question remains in your hands: To stream or not to stream?
- Tags: Netflix