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'Disney Nature Earth'
(James Earl Jones, Patrick Stewart, et al / DVD / G / 2009 / Disney)

Overview: A nature documentary compiled from the vast footage of the BBC's and The Discovery Channel's Planet Earth series and produced by award-winning British producer and director Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, Earth is the first nature film from the newly formed Disneynature--a Disney independent film label dedicated to bringing high impact wildlife and environmental films to theaters. James Earl Jones narrates this US version of the 96-minute documentary film.

DVD Verdict: Awesome is the word that comes to mind when I watched this documentary feature at the dollar movies with my family today. Even my rather squirmy preschooler was quiet for most of the movie, enthralled by the lush portrayal of landscape and animals on the big screen.

Narrated by James Earl Jones, "Earth" follows the seasons as different animals around the planet make the migration from one place to another, as well as struggle to find food amidst an increasingly warming world. The narration covers the struggles of a family of polar bears, comprising mom, two cubs and dad [dad is off on his own looking for food, whilst mom and cubs make the long, arduous trek towards the food source], a herd of elephants who struggle on a long march to the water hole whilst battling predators and starvation, the delightful bond of love between a mother humpback whale and her calf as they make a thousands miles journey across the globe to find food, etc.

There are tense scenes of predators chasing and closing in on their prey, though the scenes are so tastefully done that young children will not be unnecessarily traumatized. The message that the cycle of life neccessitates brutality is subtly put forth, and well-balanced against the humorous scenes of the bird of paradise in New Guinea which 'cleans house' and attempts a silly mating dance to attract a potential mate!

The glorious vistas of cascading waterfalls, lush green fields, the sight of thousands of buffaloes enjoying the water holes ... these are but some of the amazing visuals in the film to enthrall and delight viewers [not to mention a superb scene of a great white in attack motion]. [ZH] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Feature-Length "Filmmaker's Annotations" with pop-up facts
"EARTH Diaries" Documentary (45 mins.)