Earth is a spectacular new documentary made by the BBC that follows the lives of three wild animals over a year. Filmed over a 5 year period, it tracks polar bears in the Arctic, elephants in the Kalahari and a humpback whale, through the trials and tribulations of 4 seasons in their lives. Narrated by Patrick Stewart, with his sexy smoky voice, the high-definition photography is revelatory and a delight. The baby polar bears stick their little noses out of their cave into the light and tumble down hills of snow. Forests bloom from snow drops to blue bells to daffodils in an instant. Shot in 200 locations worldwide, the details of wildlife in their habitat are fascinating. Magnificently plumed birds of Paradise do a mating dance in the rain forest of New Guinea and three million caribou flee for their lives with killer wolves in hot pursuit.
The message is veiled. The narration talks about changes happening and the world changing and makes reference to the rain forests drying up as weather patterns change. But the big issue--climate change--is never strongly articulated. This could be because the BBC has recently been accused of liberal bias in its coverage of political issues or it could be that the producers wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible. Or maybe it's just so obvious that one doesn't need to say it. Even with these quibbles, the film conveys the fragility of our world and how we are all at the mercy of the environment. Opening today, November 16 at a cinema near you. :: Earth