One Life review

Check out our review of One Life - a terrific celebration of creatures both great and small

One Life poster

One Life

Certificate: U

Starring: Narrated by Daniel Craig

Release date: 2011

4 out of 5


We may forget sometimes, but we share this planet with some remarkable creatures. This documentary, made by Michael Gunton and Martha Holmes for BBC Earth, celebrates some of them, showing the journey from birth, to learning to hunt and survive, to their ultimate goal of delivering offspring of their own (yes, the filmmakers should probably have used The Lion King’s ‘Circle Of Life’ as its theme song). Using jaw-droppingly impressive filming techniques – high speed cameras, timelapse photography, a new camera tracking system dubbed the ‘yogi cam’ – the movie captures moments such as a baby elephant being rescued from a mud puddle by a female relative, and a fleet-footed ibex dashing, darting and eventually escaping the attention of a hungry red fox on a mountainside.

At 84 minutes long, it’s a great introduction to the animal world for children who may never have seen a wildlife documentary before. Each part of life – newborn, the hunter, the prey, adapting, surviving, even fighting – is depicted by a different creature, so we see the poison arrow frog scaling trees to feed her tadpoles, each hidden in its own individual leaf, dolphins learning to catch fish they force out of the water by creating muddy ripples, and the hierarchy of snow monkeys (only the better class of monkey gets to warm up its shivering body in the local hot springs).

Parents should note, however, that there are a few icky moments too (especially if you don’t like creepy crawlies) – but no doubt some kids will love those bits the best. Backed by an interesting yet simple narration from Daniel Craig, this is an amazing piece of filming, and a terrific celebration of creatures both great and small. (And the baby elephant is just the most adorable thing ever).

Is One Life suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

As mentioned in the above review, the film does feature close-ups of lizards, spiders, grass ants and other bugs and reptiles.

The sequence featuring the komodo dragons (who are nasty looking lizards anyway) may upset younger viewers as the komodo slowly surround a water buffalo, then when it finally dies from their venom (which takes days) they move in for the kill.

If you like this, why not try: March Of The Penguins, Tarka The Otter, Alaska, Born Free, Free Willy,