I saw this film in it’s opening week for three reasons:
1) I was excited by the trailer – James Earl Jones!
2) I wanted Disney to plant a tree with my ticket purchase
3) I wanted to support the brand new DisneyNature label (essentially a production house for Disney’s True Life Adventures)
Between the first viewing of the trailer and my viewing of the film, a negative thought was introduced into my head regarding this maiden voyage of DisneyNature (primarily from this MousePlanet review): that the film was simply a poor, disjointed summary of BBC’s Planet Earth miniseries (which was and still is a fantastic promo for the beauty of hi-definition television sets). Obviously this wasn’t enough to make me not see the film, but it definitely clouded my idle thought.
I agree the film is slightly disjointed and prone to take liberties with narrative jumps, but the story as a whole is an appropriately digestable summation of Earth and a suitable exploration of some of it’s unique creatures and climates. James Earl Jones is fantastic (especially when he invokes Disney quotes like “not flying, but falling with style” and “the great circle of life”) and there were some absolutely beautiful vistas and action shots. But it also had a storyline that I cared about…three of them: a family of two polar bear cubs, a herd of elephants and a mother humpback whale and her calf. All three stories were tied together on a massive scale by the seasons of Earth (spring, summer, fall, and winter), and the stories were woven together with intermission-like vignettes which facilitated the thousands of miles between the three stories with great ease.