Disney Nature Earth – Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Sep 9, 2009, 16:53 GMT
An epic story of adventure, starring some of the most magnificent and courageous creatures alive, awaits you in "Earth". "Disneynature" brings you a remarkable story of three animal families on a journey across our planet - polar bears, elephants and humpback whales. Filmed with spectacular clarity and beauty, "Earth" is both majestic and intimate as it captures rare footage of nature\'s wildest and most elusive animals. From the landmark "Disneynature" ...more
Earth is a redo of the BBC series Planet Earth that’s made to be a bit more kid friendly and follow a narrative. Uncle Walt was known for his nature specials and this new variation on them takes some glorious high definition footage, adds some narration by James Earl Jones, and adds cute animals.
The BBC series Planet Earth was a fabulous documentary. It was the most expensive documentary funded by the BBC and was the first to be shot in high definition. The eleven episode original was shown over several nights and was more of an event series.
Bits of that long form series have been recut and renarrated with the sonorous tones of James Earl Jones. The results are a more kid and family friendly version of what might’ve been considered academic and dry by those aforementioned groups.
This new 90 minute film takes the viewer from the North Pole to the South Pole and focuses on a polar bear, an African elephant, and a humpback whale. I suppose the purists might be suspicious that the result will be a dumb-downed version of the long form series. Technically that might be true, but have you tried to have your young-un sit down and watch all eleven episodes of Planet Earth?
Walt Disney pioneered the nature documentary with his True Life Adventures and various other kid friendly nature fare (see my review of the Disney Legacy Series that highlights this fantastic series). It’s obvious that if you’re a science or nature geek that the long form series will be your nirvana, but as with films there are audiences for different films.
In my opinion, what Disney Nature has done is ingenious in using the spectacular footage to craft a completely different and concise film. It’s certainly going to be G-rated and more friendly to the kids, but the short form film is easier to digest than subjecting the young-uns to the entire Planet Earth series.
They’ll be more apt to follow the three separate stories of the cute animals than the expansive canvas of the original series. The images though are still as fascinating and beautiful, so either way you’ll have loads of eye candy.
If you’re a Planet Earth purist then you may balk at this version, but in my opinion it will fit in nicely next to the series and might be a better way to introduce your kids to the footage than breaking out the entire series.
Earth is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.78:1). Special features are in high definition and include pop-up filmmaker annotations, the 42 minute “Earth Diaries” about making the film, living menus, and trailers for other Disney films. The second disc is a DVD copy of the film.
Planet Earth was a delight and Earth is just as delightful. The kids will cotton more to this abbreviated version.
The Blu-ray offers the beautiful high definition footage, but you also get a DVD version to take along in the car or portable DVD player to entertain them as well. A fantastic film and still just as worthy as the original series.