Five billion years ago, after a collision with a massive asteroid, the Earth tilted at an angle of twenty-three and a half degrees. Far from being a catastrophe, this cosmic accident was crucial to creating life and the world as we know it today. Filmmakers take us on a tour of the Earth as we have never seen it before.
Review by Louise Keller:
Polar bear cubs take their first wobbly steps on the Arctic slopes; a herd of elephants and a pride of lions play a psychological game in the quest for water; a humpback whale leads her calf to the other end of the planet; a newborn mandarin chick's maiden flight is like freefalling into a trampoline of scattered leaves; migrating cranes soaring over the Himalayan peaks perform mid-air ballet. These are some of the awe-inspiring images shown in this dazzling feature-length documentary spliced from the BBC series Planet Earth. Guided by Patrick Stewart's calming but informative narration and using the seasons and changing weather patterns to showcase animal behaviour, we are taken on an unforgettable year-long trip in which we are amazed, amused, surprised and often overwhelmed.
It is ironic that the Earth was once called The Lucky Planet, due to the asteroid collision that caused it to tilt and create seasons. These days, as we struggle to counter the effects of global warming, the harsh facts show that at the current rate, polar bears could be extinct by the year 2030. When the film begins, a female polar bear digs her way out of her five month hibernation in the snow with her two two-month old cubs. She toboggans down the slopes in apparent glee, leaving her cubs to discover the art of balancing on their feet. Time lapse photography, areal shots and tight close ups open windows into the worlds of wolves, ducks, cheetahs, monkeys, caribous and buffalo. We watch in slow motion as the massive jaws of the great white shark open wide to capture a dolphin. There is no blood on display - not even when the cheetah pursues its prey and locks its jaw on the jugular. The exotic Bird of Paradise contorts as it performs its extraverted dance for a nonchalant female. We see the cherry blossoms in bloom, watch the trees turn from green to gold, bronze to red and marvel as a thundering waterfall crashing majestically, ornamented by a single rainbow.
The cinematography is extraordinary and combined with the subtle but powerful music score allows us to participate emotionally. Shot in 200 locations over five years, like Travelling Birds, Microcosmos and Baraka, this is a mindblowing documentary for anyone anytime.
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EARTH (2007) (G)
NARRATION: Patrick Stewart
PRODUCER: Sophokles Tasioulis, Alix Tidmarsh
DIRECTOR: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
SCRIPT: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Brooks Burton, Andrew Shillabeer
EDITOR: Martin Elsbury
MUSIC: George Fenton
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 29, 2008