“Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”
If you missed the spectacular nature mini series Planet Earth (produced by BBC and clocking in at an amazing 660 minutes), you missed one of the best nature documentaries ever committed to film. Essentially, Earth is an edited version of the mini series. Does it work? Walt Disney Home Video recently released Earth and I gave it a try.
Earth follows the life and migratory patterns of three different animal families: A polar bear and her cubs, a group of elephants and a humpbacked whale and her offspring.
As in other nature documentaries, the intent of this film is not heavy on plot. Rather, the intent is to inform and entertain the audience and observe the amazing wildlife and nature our big blue “marble” has to offer. The cinematography, carefully chosen and lifted from the much longer Planet Earth, is absolutely mindblowingly gorgeous. I cannot stress that fact enough. Your jaw will drop at the amazing shots and opportunities these talented filmmakers captured with their lenses.
As with Disney usual mode of operation, through narration and editing, there is an attempt to insert a “story” amidst what naturally occurred before the filmmaker’s lenses. While narration might work better for the younger members of the viewing audience, I don’t feel it was a big success. Too often, it seems, the decision is to condescend to younger film audiences and over simplify things or be too overt with narration for fear children can’t follow or appreciate the film as it is. I feel that audiences of all ages could appreciate this film without the narration.
Didn’t we all learn that lesson back in 1982 with Blade Runner? Never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Narration isn’t always the answer.
I digress. Sorry, faithful readers.
Earth’s main strength is the awe inspiring visuals and the amazing journey that all living creatures experience on this planet every day. While we travel, live, breath, eat, love, work, fight and sleep, they are doing the same thing: just trying to live their lives.
All things considered, I still recommend investing the time in watching the entire mini-series Planet Earth. But, if you have younger members of your family or friends and families with the attention span of a flea, Earth is a nice way to spend an evening.
The film is presented in 1080P/AVC anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is first rate. The overall image is crisp and vibrant. The color palette is executed flawlessly and there is not one instance of grain or artifacts. The black levels are rich and well preserved. I cannot stress this enough: this looks great.
The film is presented in English DTS HD 5.1 Master Surround Sound. There are optional subtitles in English, Spanish and French. The sound mix is stellar with nice usage of all speakers. Ambient sounds and narration are mixed well and crystal clear.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The film is presented in a standard blu ray amaray case .
Earth Diaries: The Making of Earth The Movie is a 42 minute featurette that details the philosophy behind the film and how the filmmakers and editor selected 90 minutes from 660 minutes in the original mini series
Also available are “Filmmaker Annotations” which when selected, provide information from the filmmakers about the production of the film in form of pop-ups.
Overall (Not an average) 8/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 10/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10