A jaw-dropping virtual safari courtesy of Barack Obama
Our major national parks is a limited documentary series based on some of the largest and most important national parks in the world. Narrated by former President of the United States and a popular Internet figure, Barack Obama, this documentary consists of five parts, four of which are devoted to individual countries. With each episode lasting nearly an hour, Our Great National Parks takes an in-depth look at each country’s wildlife and marine reserve.
– Our review of major national parks contains no spoilers –
Each episode begins with Obama connecting that particular country to his own life and time spent there, usually as a child. The focus of Our major national parks, according to Obama, is to present to the public the efforts made by governments around the world to preserve a rapidly declining environment. He begins with the hope that he is able to leave the earth not only habitable but also a prosperous place for his children and grandchildren.
The first episode is an introduction to various wildlife sanctuaries around the world, from Hawaii (where Obama grew up) to Japan and Chile and more. This episode is also the most interesting, as it grabs our attention with its variety of national parks and the animals that inhabit them. We visit Yellowstone National Park, which is the pioneer in establishing wildlife sanctuaries around the world. We see the sloths of Costa Rica, who take a month to digest a single leaf (not my words, but Obama’s). We also learn that a quarter of all modern medicine originated in rainforests, which largely explains their exploitation.
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Like Our major national parks progressing to the second episode, we see the forests and ocean reserves from Patagonia to Chile. It consists of 24 national parks and the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes. In the third episode, Obama focuses on Tsavo National Park, which is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest national parks. Kenya is also Obama’s home country, and he talks about visiting as an adult to see his family and becoming amazed by the scenery and wildlife.
In this episode we see much of the African veldt with its hot, dry vegetation and some of the most dangerous animals like the African puma. The fourth and fifth episodes feature Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Cruz, USA, and Gunung Leuser National Park in Indonesia.
Our major national parks tries very hard to be as interesting as possible. And we can’t blame them, with audiences watching everything on OTT platforms, we just don’t have the attention span or interest to watch a five-part nature documentary. Watching an hour or a two-hour documentary is another matter, but a series requires keen interest and dedication, even if it’s narrated by everyone’s favorite, Barack Obama.
To his credit, he infused the storytelling with a confusing tone and attempted to humanize the behavior of his subjects. Focusing on the adorable babies of lemurs, orangutans, cougars and seals and the like, there has been a good effort to keep the interest of an audience watching cute cat videos all day long. .
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Our major national parks also seems like a transition to Obama’s new venture as executive producer. Obama as a narrator is a pretty funny thing for a lot of people who have watched him as president and his CSPAN sketch as well as his NSThe cameo. This documentary will only add another feather to its popularity ceiling, that is, if people actually watch it.
Our major national parks: A manifesto on climate change?
Our major national parks begins with a message to the public: only if we take action to protect our wildlife and marine life now will future generations be able to survive. And to survive, we must make these wildlife reserves our priority, especially when the world is facing an unprecedented rate of climate change. Obama adds that he has seen rapid changes in his own lifetime, hence his desire to do something for the environment and its people.
He finishes Our major national parks with the call of “we must do more”, and urges the public to “vote as if the planet depends on it”. He strongly urges us to push our governments to increase the number of these wildlife reserves and parks.
There’s a huge irony in Barack Obama’s storytelling Our major national parks. He was President of the United States, the country solely responsible for 20.3% of total greenhouse gas emissions, ranking 4th in total deforestation from 2020, with a total energy consumption 40% of the whole world. Someone from this background narrating a documentary about wildlife sanctuaries seems like a black joke being played on all of us.
Another problem with Obama in Our major national parks is that he is urging the public to take action, meanwhile it is big business and local governments that are responsible for climate change, including the US government. Placing the blame for change on the public is also a favorite pastime of those in power.
Aside from beautiful shots of a variety of vegetation and life forms, Obama’s somewhat amusing narration, and coverage of different countries, Our Great National Parks does little to keep viewers interested. Once you get over the wonderment of Obama talking about mating rituals and baby lemurs, the documentary doesn’t have much to offer. It would be a stretch to expect an audience to hang around until the 5th episode.
Our major national parks is streaming on netflix.
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