Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

Disney Nature’s Earth (2009)

The kind folks at the newly established Disney Nature division want to make sure those who missed out on the stunning 2006 Discovery Channel/BBC miniseries Planet Earth get another chance. Earth is a re-edited, recycled version of the globe-trotting miniseries, cutting down 8 hours to a bladder-friendly 95 minutes. Disney has given the film a family-friendly narrative, following the exploits of three families; a mamma polar bear and her cubs, a whale and offspring, and an elephant and its little thundering toddlers (note to parents: the film doesn’t shy away from death but you won’t watch any onscreen kills). The footage is jaw-dropping and to witness it on the big screen is a must-see. The mini-series, and by extension the new movie, is a powerful advertisement for conservation without having to get on-message or preachy. The gorgeous images speak volumes. The filmmakers spent over 5 years compiling mass amounts of footage, and some cameramen sat in isolated and harsh conditions for a year in order to snap rare moments on film. While the film cannot rival the mini-series, it’s still a highly watchable experience with eye-popping visuals and, really, little else. It serves as a tasty appetizer for the larger main course, the immersive and riveting Planet Earth mini-series. But hey, there is something God-like about listening to James Earl Jones detail the particulars of life on this spinning blue orb. Earth is mostly spectacle but ho boy, is it first-rate spectacle.

Nate’s Grade: A-

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