Entertainment » Movies


by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Wednesday Apr 22, 2009
Want to impress me?  Make a movie about these gals.
Want to impress me? Make a movie about these gals.  

"Earth" is little more than a kid-friendly re-cut. For those of you who saw "Planet Earth" from the BBC, you're in for two hours of the same footage, albeit on the big screen - because despite spectacular cinematography and accomplished editing, this version attempts to make global warming comprehensible to a Disney audience, dumbing down the complexities of nature to a ho-hum story of three clich? nature families and their quest for survival.

The film follows a polar bear mom and her predictably cuddle youngsters as they emerge from the snow den and attempt to find food on a dwindling polar ice shelf... the trials of a humpback whale and her baby in migrating south to the Antartic... and the difficulties faced by a young elephant and his mom as they traverse Africa in search of the yearly watering hole. Elegantly blended into these three stories is footage depicting the changing climate of the planet, as well as the virtual zoo of unique and noble creatures who inhabit it.

The problem with "Earth" is that it adds nothing new to the conversation. Even the narration of James Earl Jones cannot shake the feeling that we've watched these precise same struggles, utilizing precisely this camera footage, with precisely this music, narrated precisely this way before. There are literally no elements of surprise; even the somewhat shocking footage of a male polar bear attempting to attack a herd of walruses looks as if it were assembled from unused scraps of "An Arctic Tale." And the most fascinating parts of nature - that "kill or be killed" mentality that reminds us of the eternal struggle we fight between our morality and our Darwinian urge to survive at the expense of the lives of others - well, that's been edited completely out. Just as the cheetah is about to plunge his teeth into the neck of a gazelle, the film cuts away - presumably to protect the children in the audience from seeing the blood bath about to occur.

Why? What's the point? If we're meant to grow up and face the realities of the damage we're doing to the planet, let's see them head-on; on the other hand, if we're meant to merely appreciate the majesty of the animal world, just show it to us - there's really no need to prattle on about the obligatory plight of the polar bears as exulted via the same storyline we've seen in one form or another for decades.

Here's the net: life on Earth is both difficult and wonderful, indiscriminatingly cruel in its indifference even as it inspires and enchants us. Now you know the story; if you must, watch this on your 42" plasma at home, where you can turn down the volume and appreciate the photography in peace.



Runtime :: 90 mins
Release Date :: Apr 22, 2009
Language :: English
Country :: Germany

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.

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