Inside Nature’s Giants – Giant Squid Review: Out Of This World

October 14, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


Before we begin, I have a confession to make: giant squid really aren’t my thing. This isn’t a prejudice against oversized cephalopods; it’s just that marine biology in general isn’t something that gets me excited. As a consequence, the prospect of watching over an hour of the things swimming about and being physically and verbally dissected by sea nerds filled me with dread. I like calamari as much as the next person, but how can it possibly make for interesting television?

As Inside Nature’s Giants began, with one of its presenters soliloquising about very big squid in a tensely lit studio, I was sure I was in for a melodramatic marine biology programme. And indeed I was. However, the theatrics turned out to be justified by the incredible anatomy and capacity of the giant squid and the even more hysterically named ‘colossal squid’. Compared to aliens on a number of occasions throughout the programme, these creatures really do have a touch of the Hollywood martians about them and the rich colour of their habitat lends itself to their extraterrestrial qualities.

But it’s not just their appearance that looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie; as the ins and outs of their digestive systems are explored by the fearless squid experts, we learn of their incredible ability to camouflage themselves and turn on LED-like lights and of the gruesome way in which they digest their prey.

On this note, Inside Nature’s Giants isn’t one to watch while you’re tucking into your evening meal. You can practically smell the stench of rotting squid flesh as the fish geeks carve up the bloated beasts on a big slippery table around which they occasionally drag the lifeless squid to demonstrate the scope of their movements. A live squid is not for the faint-hearted; a dead one is enough to make you go pescatarian. The experts’ explanation of how giant squids make babies is more life-changingly disturbing than finding out how humans do it when you’re six years old.

The programme has far too many presenters clogging up the airtime, with the tweed-clad professor-type who pops up every now and then looking quite out of place. The show doesn’t need all these people gesticulating about the squid, because the squid are impressive enough by themselves. The slow-motion shots of them catching their prey may seem melodramatic, but the truth is, you really wouldn’t want to put yourself in the path of one of these monsters…not even for a plate of giant calamari.

Tom Filby says:

“Veterinary Scientist Mark Evans is our friendly faced guide through what is essentially an autopsy interspersed with informative but fairly tenuous side-features about near genetic relatives, and look! There’s Richard Dawkins not going ballistic at some slack-jawed religious maniac.”

Read my full review at