Disney’s Earth

Quickcard Review

Disney’s Earth

Directed by: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: G

Plot: The first documentary from Disney Nature, shows the life of animals on our planet for one year, with the focus on polar bears, elephants and whales.

Who’s It For? You would think this is a film to held get your kids excited about the environment, but that’s a stretch. It’s really for people too lazy to go out and rent the 11-part series from Discovery’s “Planet Earth” 11-part series.

Expectations: Following three animal families over the course of the year, with Disney’s magic tough, narrated by James Earl Jones … what’s not to like there?


It just feels like cheating. This is the exact footage used in the “Planet Earth” series. They leave that information out during the previews. And it’s a great idea following three animals over the course of a year, but this film doesn’t. It skips huge chunks. Like, how did the polar bears find food? Or how did the elephants find their way back to the pack.

I love nature, but this is cookie cutter. Before I realized this footage was from “Planet Earth” I kept feeling like to was poorly edited together. There is no story here. And you don’t go away with an amazing amount of education either.

The look of the film has even suffered. It looks much better in HD on your big screen TV, and I have to imagine the Blu-ray looks even better.

So instead of Sigourney Weaver’s voice (from the TV series), we’re given James Earl Jones, which is a tiny step up. I don’t think Darth Vader or Mufasa … I think Field of Dreams and his speech, “But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game … it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” Sure, Bill Simmons has ruined it a little by pointing out the obvious fact that no black players from the past show up to play, but I’m desperately trying to ignore that.

I even miss the full Disney treatment in this documentary. No cute names given to the animals? How will you sell more stuffed animals? You don’t bring back “Circle of Life,” just to get the crowd in the mood? It’s like I don’t know you any more.

So if you haven’t figured it out by now, rent “Planet Earth” and skip this. And for the record, if they hadn’t borrowed the footage, I think I could have only gone as high as a 5/10.

Final Score: 3/10


  1. Ichthyic says:

    It feels like we’re going backwards instead of forward with this Disney effort.

    As someone who teachers zoology and behavior, it has taken decades to wipe all the previous Disney anthropomorphism schlock from students heads.

    I thought, finally, we had moved beyond projecting human emotions and social structure on to animals in documentaries, and that it had now been relegated to where it belongs: cartoons.


    guess not. I bloody HATE the Disney corporation.

    “So instead of Sigourney Weaver’s voice (from the TV series), we’re given James Earl Jones, which is a tiny step up”

    …but still a step down from the original Attenborough narration.

    again, I can’t help but wonder at why the Discovery Channel, in purchasing the rights, would think to remove the best nature narrator EVER.

    It’s like Planet Earth keeps being raped by American hubris.

    …pun intended?


  2. Cotoplankton says:

    Sigourney Weaver? For the reals? I like her well enough, but I’m so glad I bought this series when it belonged to Attenborough and the BBC. I’m having trouble stomaching this latest “Disney” incarnation. American hubris, totally.

  3. Mark says:

    What a disappointment – narration was clumsy and trite, the footage was mainly ripped wholesale from the (much better edited and narrated) BBC series ‘Planet Earth’ and the editing was shocking.

    The film leaped from one ’story’ to the next with what seems like reckless abandon, leaving the viewer wholly unsatisfied and mentally unchallenged.

    I know this was a film aimed squarely at families but I’m afraid it jumped the shark for me when the (fabulous) voice of James Earl Jones was narrating the hunting down of an antelope by a cheetah.

    It went something like this:

    “and so, the circle of life, which we so rarely see from our comfortable position, is completed”

    {cut away from cheetah about to kill antelope}

    How on earth can we have such a pompous comment – telling us that we need to see how life sustains itself through the killing of creatures for food… THEN CUT AWAY JUST AS THE CREATURE KILLED FOR FOOD?

    Overall, a HUGE disappointment. Invest some time and watch Planet Earth – even small kids will appreciate the deeper scientific integrity of the BBC version.

  4. Julie says:

    The most disappointing part of this movie is that the only people who would go watch it have probably already seen Planet Earth at least once. They suckered me in with planting trees. Disney is evil.

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