Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day - Earth - Movie Review

It's Earth Day and I can spew on and on about the need to save the world and our need to cut down on living this extravagant life (that is now proving economically to be beyond what we can handle) and using the earth's resources in excess but I will admit, I could do WAY more too but little by little right?

Meanwhile, Disney's new division Disneynature is releasing Earth today in cinemas as a beautiful reminder of how precious our little world is. The images are spectacular on the big screen (though one wishes it were Imax) and how can you not love images of baby animals? (if not, this or this wouldn't exist).

The "new" movie is from directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield in co-production with BBC and Discovery from the people behind the Planet Earth series, and apparently a lot of that footage is used here, but since I have yet to watch all the discs on that, and I imagine it was expensive to film, I won't blame them for re-editing and repackaging it all into an easily digestible movie geared towards the family, much like Walt Disney himself did back in the heydays when Disney started producing nature films with the Professor Duck Ludwig von Drake narrating.

Now with camerawork being even far more spectacular, and some added gravitas of James Earl Jones narrating, the story of earth, as told from the North Pole to the South and back, via 3 families of animals, gives the old nature movies my father LOVED watching (and would force me to watch) into something entertaining, if not slightly simplistic (especially nowadays with all the shows on the Discovery Channel and others). They never quite show the actual kills after a tense chase, and the movie sticks to the generally cutesy stuff, but from the response of all the kiddies in the audience, it's perfectly geared for children to slowly turn them all into conservationists.

The environmental slant is subtle and weaved well into the story. You get the point, and there's not much you can disagree with when the facts and the visuals come together, but it doesn't hit you over the head so that the republicans can pick it apart (and when did republicans become synonymous with anti-environmentalism).

While the movie uses the animals as its storylines (it's hard not to love the baby polar bears but by the time they get to the birds, it's hard to resist), the most spectacular parts are the the flying shots of our beautiful earth itself. While the camerawork for some of the animals become grainy due to zooming, or the temperature giving that wavy shot, and sometimes seeing that on the big screen became a bit dizzying, the helicopter shots from above were simply breathtaking.

While I still think it should have been Imax, and the "tale" they've re-packaged this as lost me in the middle (I got a bit nauseous from some of the closeups (we were sitting a bit too close than I'm normally used to) and had to close my eyes and I might have dozed off briefly when I did that), it's hard to dislike the film and argue with its merits when there are just so many spectacular shots. (And it's more entertaining than March of the Penguins)

Also, stay on through the credits where they finally show the behind the scenes bloopers. Fascinating and hilarious.

Earth = A- or 9/10

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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