Thursday, September 17, 2009
A polar bear family trying to survive in the arctic--their plight exacerbated by global warming. African elephants on a grueling, dusty migration to a far away oasis. A mother humpback whale and her calf swimming 4,000 miles to their feeding grounds--dodging the great white shark along their perilous way.
Five years in the making, spanning 62 countries and 7 continents, Disney's Earth is the latest awe-inspiring nature documentary to hit the screen. With breathtaking cinematography, (shot from planes, helicopters, and hot-air balloons) Earth chronicles the stark life and death struggles that constitute the everyday reality of Mother Nature's world.
Along with the story line of the bears, elephants, and whales, we are treated to majestic scenes of caribou migrating across the tundra; birds teeming in the sky in such numbers that they obliterate the sun; and fish that swim nearly 70 miles per hour--all to the tune of a stirring soundtrack and the dulcet-toned narration of James Earl Jones.
Like every other nature flick I've seen, Earth does not spare us the obligatory scenes of carnivores tracking and chasing down their prey--ostensibly to make a point about the kill-or-be-killed aspect of nature--and, perhaps,to transmute it to the human realm to try to provide some cynical explanation about the nature of our own society. (It's a dog-eat-dog world out there!)
The other side of nature's split-personality doesn't normally get much play--that being the relatively gentle (yet powerful) herbivores--horses, hippos, rhinos, elephants, etc.--who are quite content to munch the day away on something green. But that wouldn't make for a stirring, adrenalin pumping film, now would it?
There's a certain segment of the movie going population that just wants to see blood--human or animal--they're not that picky. Earth may disappoint in that regard, as it stops just short of any real gore, (or AL GORE for that matter) though the Bambi factor might still be present with small children who may wonder why the cutest creatures normally get the short end of the stick.
Adults may be left to ponder about when, if ever, HUMANS might evolve beyond this dog-eat-dog world.
GRADE: B +