The BBC television series "Planet Earth" was such a big success that the people at Disney decided that making a feature-length film based on it was not going to be seen as overkill. And for the most part they were right. A visual stunner like "Earth" (narrated by Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones) begs to be seen on the big screen. The photography is marvelous and it is like a feast for your eyes. Now that it is released on blu-ray you can take it home to appreciate on your high-def, big screen television without losing any of its beauty.
The scenery and animals are the stars of this picture. Never allowing you to become bored, the camerawork is varied with some tight shots followed by aerial ones. Not to be left in the dust the narration is great adding much to the telling of the story of our beautiful planet and some of its inhabitants. The four themes of the film include: seasonal patterns, individual animal stories, climate change, and the hunter/hunted interactions across varied environments.
We travel to the North Pole to follow a female polar bear through her attempt to lead her cubs across the Arctic ice. Then it is off to the Okavango Delta on the African continent to travel with a herd of elephants as they make their way to the vital seasonal floodwaters there, and finally we watch a humpback whale and her calf navigate the waters they live in. Besides the three main stories we also see small parts about wildlife throughout the planet. Through all these stories we see the importance of conservation and the delicate balance between life and death. We are never beaten over the head with the message and it is easy enough to grasp what they are trying to communicate.
Some with be disappointed as much of the material (narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough) is from the "Planet Earth" series they've already seen. However, this is much more simplified version of what the BBC attempted with that television series. There is a lot less science in "Earth"; it is more an exploratory picture for laypeople. This makes the film version much more child-friendly. There are moments of humour, sadness and tension in this engaging film. Despite the fact that it is nothing we have not seen before, it is still a powerful picture about life and the delicate balance of this planet.
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