Ever since Steve Irwin introduced us with the widely acclaimed series of "getting in touch" with the wildlife, the way we see documentaries changed significantly. 'To Find a Harpy’ is one of those documentaries that are very different in terms of approach and subject matter. Daniel O’Neill's projects presents Natasha Ellison with a small group of people who go into the deep forests of South America to find what is believed to be one of the rarest species of eagles ever to exist.
At a first look, her quest seems like a normal expedition into the unknown places where everything can kill you, and where without proper equipment, you might not get out alive. However, this is much more than that. Natasha’s way of narrating the whole journey, and her genuine happiness when she finally gets to see the eagle she only dreamt of being able to see in this life, is breathtaking. Gradually, you are eased inside this story, and you end up being with the whole crew out in the middle of nowhere, with a big smile on your face, a fulfilled goal on your bucket list, and an interesting feeling deep down in your heart. Truth be told, this kind of feeling is quite rare in documentaries, reason why we strongly think ‘To Find a Harpy’ is much more than that!
What we strongly appreciate is the fact that the narrator is blended easily into the story. Without a narrator, this documentary would have been incomplete and dull, as the story needs the proper connections and references that images are not always capable of covering.
The job of the narrator here is to make the viewer feel included in the quest, and as it stands, in ‘To Find a Harpy’ the viewer feels like it is there, holding the camera and the binoculars, dodging under fallen trees. A must watch for all animal lovers out there!
Review written by Vlad A.G