When Nick and I first heard about the Disney Earth movie (great trailer at that link that will reel you in!) coming out, we marked the date on my calendar and started counting down the days. Surprisingly, for a Disney production, it seemed like there was very little in the way of marketing for it … an image here or there and one quick commercial, but the little dribs and drabs we saw just made us look forward to it even more.
It opened today, fittingly on Earth Day, and we headed off to see it tonight. A few women in my Moms Group were a little concerned with how kid-friendly the movie would be for young kids, but hey, it’s Disney, I wasn’t too worried. I figured I’d quickly cover his eyes (and mine!) if need be.
The movie is made by the BBC group behind Planet Earth and true to their reputation, the images and captures are truly stunning. It is awe-inspiring to see some of the animals’ journeys and stories that they were able to film. There are definitely some sad parts, but there’s no blood or guts. Although you know that an animal might have met their demise, it’s more assumed than shown (all except one at the near end), although the first bite is filmed. But I do admit that I said that the humpback whale was eating garbage he found on the shore’s floor, and I’m pretty certain that was a blatant lie. A white one though!
Beyond the gorgeous visual candy, it was educational as well and James Earl Jones is a fantastic narrator. Did you know that the humpback whale travels 4000 miles when it migrates? Crazy. And that the rainforest is 3% of our world, yet has 50% of all the earth’s animals in it? Those sequences were noisy with all the animals! Throughout the movie, it was fun to hear the sounds that different animals make, and there were definite dry humor spots in the movie. Madeline would love the monkey sequence as they got used to their “sudden beachfront property,” and Nick and I laughed at watching the Mandarin ducks learn to fly for the first time, the polar bear cubs walk and the penguins go sledding on their belly.
Now all that aside, is it for kids? I don’t think I’d really take a child under 5, definitely. Although the movie is breathtaking, the “plot” is the various journeys that different animal families undergo, so there isn’t really a storyline that younger children will grab on to. Nick listened very intently to the narration, and liked identifying the different animals, but if he was younger, I don’t think he’d be able to enjoy it enough to sit still for that long. By the end of the movie, there was a collection of parents by the door who were trying to see the end of the movie themselves, but whose younger kids grew restless and were walking around. And the constant up and down and up and down and up and down … but that wasn’t just because of the kids. Restlessness apparently knows no boundaries.
Oh those poor polar bears. Next to the baby elephants, the story of the polar bears and the journey … and struggle … heartbreaking. But heartbreak aside, the movie is a heartwarming look at things that we don’t think about. Go see it