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