Belly Up Aspen screening ‘Blue Planet II’ through May |

Belly Up Aspen screening ‘Blue Planet II’ through May

Andrew Travers
"Blue Planet II" is screening at Belly Up Aspen on Wednesday nights through the end of May.
Courtesy photo


What: ‘Blue Planet II’

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Wednesdays through May 30, 7:30 p.m.

How much: Free

More info: The remaining scheduled segments are ‘Big Blue’ (May 9); ‘Green Seas’ (May 16); ‘Coasts (May 23); and ‘Our Blue Planet’ (May 30);

For those of us who can’t get out of town for a globe-trotting adventure this offseason, Belly Up Aspen is taking us on a deep-sea journey with a free presentation of the awe-inspiring, seven-part BBC documentary series “Blue Planet II.”

The club is screening the series, narrated by the iconic David Attenborough, on Wednesday nights through the end of May.

The exquisitely photographed segments are jaw-dropping when viewed on a regular television, but they’re downright transcendental on Belly Up’s 16-foot screen and projected with the bleeding edge 4K Laser projector that the club installed last year (and showed off with a similar offseaon-long presentation of the BBC’s “Planet Earth II”).

The series is also a call to arms for ocean preservation, sounding the alarm on the effects of global warming and, in each episode, hammering home the effects of climate change on sea life. Once you have seen walruses and their young charges struggling to find space on shrinking icebergs in the Arctic, you cannot unsee them.

As Attenborough says in the first installment, “There has never been a more crucial time to reveal what is going on beneath the surface of our seas.”

The broadcast of “Blue Planet II” was a true global event. It premiered in January in the U.S. on BBC America and was broadcast in the U.K. and elsewhere around the world in the fall. In China, it attracted some 80 million viewers and was downloaded off the web so often that it reportedly slowed Internet service nationally.

The intervening years since the original broadcast “Blue Planet” in 2001 have brought huge advances in sea exploration techniques and in film technology, which combine to astonishing effect. Of course, the footage is awe-inspiring as we’ve come to expect from Attenborough’s documentaries, but the team also made several new scientific discoveries during the a four-year production that included 125 expeditions in 39 countries and some 4,000 deep-sea dives from atolls in the Indian Ocean to fjords in Norway, into the icy depths below Antarctica and the Arctic.

In it, we see phosphorescent fish lit in psychedelic colors and wonders like the incredible kobudai fish, profiled in the first episode, that naturally transition from female to male. And there are fish that hunt flying birds, leaping into the air to snatch them. There are tusk fish that use tools to open clams and dolphins who go surfing for pleasure. You’ll see an octopus-versus-shark battle. And you’ll travel to a terrifying death lake at the bottom of the ocean, where brine collects into a massive pool in which nothing can survive.

The team goes to the ocean floor below Antarctica in a submarine to terrain no human has before reached. Attenborough points out that scientists know less about the bottom of the ocean than they do about the surface of Mars. But if you watch “Blue Planet II,” you’ll understand it far better than you did before.