After reviewing Monkey Kingdom, Disney’s most recent Disneynature effort I am going back and starting at the beginning with their first film Earth.
Unlike Monkey Kingdom which tells a single narrative of Maya, Earth tells 3 stories but doesn’t give names or that kind of thing. It’s more of a traditional nature documentary.
As the poster might imply Earth follows animals from different parts of the earth, mainly polar bears, humback whales and elephants, for a year. It was filmed along with the Planet Earth project which aired on the Discovery Channel.
It starts out in the Arctic with some adorable polar bears and 2 new cubs. She must find food for herself and the cubs and the ice is melting. The Papa polar bear is lost trying to get food.
Then we go to Africa and follow a herd of elephants. They have cute little baby elephants and have to find water and keep the babies safe from lions. It’s pretty intense really when lions corner a lone elephant and all attack it.
The last set is the whales who must travel 4000 miles to find new feeding grounds with all kinds of challenges.
In between these 3 main stories we get smaller stories of birds, sea lions, dolphins, caribou and possibly the worlds cutest animal penguins.
Watching Earth is a pretty amazing experience and it did fill me with awe at the Earth God has created. It’s so diverse and beautiful. However, this film does not sugarcoat the realities of these species lives. I was surprised how much preying and attacks they did. Some kids might be upset seeing a wolf kill a caribou or what happens with the polar bear Dad or the elephant that gets attacked. It depends on the kid but I would have probably found that upsetting.
If you hate nature documentaries and find them boring than this is not the one that will convert you. It does drag in sections and with James Earl Jones doing the narration it feels very old school nature documentary. I didn’t mind it but it’s not for everyone. It certainly is a natural choice with his iconic voice especially when we see lions.
Some of the details felt a little bit dated to me like the time lapse photography. I think that was really mind blowing in 2007 but it doesn’t hold the same grip in 2015 and they use the technique a lot. Some of their global warming science also is a little bit dated; although, certainly a good message for kids to hear.
I think there are some kids that will absolutely love this, mainly for the visual beauty and not the storytelling. Same with adults actually. If you don’t require a plot and just like seeing all these animals and learning about them than you’ll enjoy it. If that sounds really dull to you it will be. Simple as that. And like I said some of the scenes might be upsetting to small or sensitive children.
As with all Disneynature movies the ending showing how they got shots including a collision with a tree while riding a gyrocopter type device was pretty amazing. There’s scenes where lions and bears try to follow them and the crew looks scared. I’d be scared! They certainly have guts at Disneynature!
Here’s the trailer.