Obama Shines in “Our Great National Parks”

Nicole Posont, Editor-In-Chief

Netflix’s stunning new nature documentary “Our Great National Parks” gives viewers a tour into natural preserves all over the world with Barack Obama as a guide. 

Each of the five episodes takes the viewer through the challenges of a select few species that have been effected by living in one of the worlds’ national parks. The trials and tribulations of each of these animals tugs on the viewers heart-strings, fills them with wonder and shows off the greatest that nature has to offer. There is no sight quite like an Andean condor stumbling to take off for its first flight, then finally finding confidence in the sky.

Obama opens the series by calling back to his childhood in Hawaii. He tells a personal anecdote of his mother walking the shoreline of Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve while pregnant with him and the importance of the beach in his childhood. His personal connection to nature results in his narration feeling genuine.

The first episode of the series jumps around the globe, whereas the remaining episodes focus on specific areas. Some of which include the Chilean Patagonia, Tsavo, Kenya, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, USA and Gunung Leuser and Indonesia. 

This series also covers topics such as climate change and conservation but is not overly political. While he was known for his career in politics, Obama’s love for the environment is what shines through while watching. Obama’s personal perspective on environmental issues are supported by scientific standpoint. The documentary aims to advocate for the conservation of land and change everyday habits that negatively impact our environment. 

The script itself is fun, playful and allowed Obama to give personality and life to the stories of each of the species. For example, he jokes about hippos “hang[ing] ten” on the nicknamed ‘land of surfing hippos’ on the outer reaches of the Congo. While it was lighthearted, it was also informative and would be easy for viewers of any age to understand. 

Pairing the script with breathtaking videography makes it hard to look away from the screen. However, the series is not just about the beauty of nature. Obama ends with a powerful call to action to “vote like the planet depends on it,” and stays true to the clear theme of the series- protecting the world and its fellow inhabitants. 

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: April 13, 2022