I finally saw the new DisneyNature movie Earth on April 24th. Thanks to G2BG, I was due to see it for free on the 15th, but I was unable to attend the press screenings. The plus side is that 2 trees were planted for me in the rainforest. The down side is that I could very nearly have flown to Brazil and planted my own trees for the cost of going to a theatre these days! Over all, I found it a powerful and moving environmental documentary, by turns comic, heart-wrenching, and awe-inspiring, so the price was (nearly) worth it.
The cinematography was every inch as amazing as I was led to expect. From sweeping vistas filmed from the air to time lapse tricks that showed seasons changing before my eyes to baby animals struggling to survive, the scenes were breathtaking. Just as the directors said, they cut out the actual violence of the food chain, without leaving doubt for older viewers about what had happened. [SPOILER ALERT!! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH] Seeing the lone elephant walking the opposite direction from the water, toward certain death, was a powerful moment, more powerful even than the elephant taken down by the lions. The latter had an almost comic aspect to it (though I doubt the elephant would agree) because of the cartoonish lion scrabbling up the elephant’s backside before it went down.
While I will agree they did a fairly good job of balancing the need for the environmental message to be obvious without coming off heavy-handed, I did feel that, with one of the stories at least, there was a bit too much anthropomorphizing - as well as using the narrative to make events seem to more strongly supports the facts. While I realize it was a Disney film and some humanizing of the animals might be expected, this was not necessary with the other stories and I don’t think the other helps the green message of the movie, even though I am sure that was the aim of how the story was spun. My fear is that those tactics will actually have the opposite effect because if I believe in environmental issues and I am coming away from that part of the film poking holes in the logic, how much more likely is a non-green person to take those over-dramatizations and use them as an excuse not to act?