Review of Disney's New "earth" Movie...I Saw it and I am Still Crying


I was honored last night to be sitting in the reserved area for press at a showing of the new "earth" movie from Disney. I only got to sit there because there was no press at the showing. That was my first surprise at the movie last night. This is Mickey's backyard here in Orlando and not one member of the press was there.

As members of the Orlando Science Center, my family (as well as about 250 other people) were treated to a special, early showing of this movie that I have been waiting to see for months. The regular release date for the movie is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day 2009. I am not sure whether there will be similar showings around the US and world or whether we just got the early showing because we live in the land of "the Mouse" here in Orlando.

Please be aware that just because "earth" has a G rating, this movie is not suitable for all ages. My three year old said half way through the movie, "I don't like this channel!"

I must say that I agreed with her.

Not that the images were not absolutely incredible, even though some were just a bit fuzzy. I gathered that those shots were slightly out of focus because of the huge distance from which they were shot. These are images you have never seen before and the music should be up for some sort of an award. The music (pure, old school Disney) filled my heart and soul with feelings of love and sadness which I have never felt from a movie...even Sophie's Choice! I have it playing now and am tearing up. I think I may be like Pavlov's Dogs now.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was actually the end when they showed how some of the shots were taken. Be sure to stay for that as it was very interesting and you can see the absolute dedication of these cinematographers. The work that went into getting these never before seen shots in the wild should also be lauded along with the music.

If you go to the movie, you will be treated to scenes such as a mother polar bear waking from hibernation and venturing out of her den. I don't know about you, but I have never seen anything like that. You will see and feel the vastness of the Arctic. The shots of mom polar bear blinking her dark eyes at the blaring daylight reflected on the snow, slowly crawling out of her den, trying to walk and coaxing her two babies outside will forever be ingrained in my heart.

So too will all of the shots of death be ingrained upon my heart and the feeling (I think that Disney wanted me to take away) that in some way I am to blame for some of this (what some would call natural) cycle of death.

After the first death scene, my 12 year old said, "That's nature."

After the last death scene the 12 year old said, "This movie sucks."

Disney said this is the "circle of life that most of us in our urban life have lost touch with."

I guess I should say "Thanks" for bringing me back in touch with the circle of life (mostly the death part of the circle)...over and over and over again in an hour and a half? I expected to see, and had warned my kids, that there would be animals hunting and that meant baby animals dying. We were prepared for that. This is the "timeless ritual of hunter and hunted" as James Earl Jones told us in his narration. What I was not prepared for was the push to make me feel that these incredible animals are dying because of my carbon emissions.

"Late summer in the Arctic and the ice is melting fast. Each year as our planet warms, the ice melts faster and it is bad for polar bears." booms Earl Jones whose voice was perfection.

We see just how bad it is for the polar bears through the struggle of dad polar bear during the entire movie. Clearly Disney agrees with Global Warming. Perhaps it was just my take that Disney put so much death into this movie along with references to Global Warming so as to guilt me into trading in my Suburban for a Prius. Perhaps not.

If it was Disney's intention to make people so sad, depressed and guilty that they do all they can to save the planet, they may have gone a bit too far in the direction of the death and sadness to get through to all. If Disneynature wanted to create a movie to make a 9 year old sob, they did a great job!

To be fair, Disney never came out and said, "Your carbon emissions are causing the Global Warming which is changing the precious seasonal cycles that drive life on land and in oceans and is killing these animals." To me it was the message loud and clear.

My girls (who are very thick skinned) and I were ready for a feel good movie about 3 animal families and were surprised by what we saw and heard. If we were a bit more prepared for the huge amount of sadness and death, we may have left the movie without tear stained cheeks and heavy hearts. If I had known what I know now, I would not have taken my 9 year old (she kept asking me, as she peeked through her hands covering her eyes, if it was over yet?) and I certainly would not have brought along my 3 year old.

I am anxiously waiting to hear your thoughts and reviews...


P.S.-Join us at our Environmental Booty Network (like Facebook for people who treasure self, people and planet) to see our upcoming Members Only "Daily Green Deal" page.

22 comments:

  1. This movie sounds amazing! I hope I get the chance to see it.

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  2. Thanks for your review, it was good to hear from someone that was able to get a sneak-peak at the movie. Now I'm even more excited to see it!

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  3. Excellent, honest review ~~ thanks! I have linked to it on my page Disney's Earth Movie. I would be thrilled if you would visit and add your opinion and I am sure that it would be helpful if you did so, especially to parents who are deciding whether or not to take their children to see the film.

    Brenda

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  4. I forgot to ask -- if you have a soundtrack? How are you listening to it? I've heard it is beautiful.

    Brenda

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  5. Brenda, I do not have the soundtrack, I was jjust listening to a loop at http://disney.go.com/disneynature/earth/ . I am heading to your site now.

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  6. Thank you for this post! I was going to take my 3 year old to see it for Earth Day and really appreciate your warning! I want him to stay in the stage of innocence with nature right now. Maybe next year we can ease into the life and death part of nature. Thanks again!
    Kelly

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  7. I'm so happy you posted this information. We planned on going based on the previews, which seemed to promise beautiful scenery and education about animals and nature. I am certainly okay with some reality in the way of life and death, but am not willing to subject my kids to overkill (for lack of a better word) on the death part at their young ages and levels of innocence. We'll wait for the video and watch it first to see if it's appropriate for our kids. Thanks again for the heads up and detailed review!

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  8. It is certainly beautiful but I think it is much better to take a look at it yourself before you show it to little ones. My nine year old just said that she told all of her friends not to go see it unless they were at home!

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  9. This is not a Disney Movie. It is a BBC movie. Let's please give credit where it is due.

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  10. ©2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and BBC Worldwide Ltd

    Thanks and Done!

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  11. I wish I'd read your review before taking my kids and forking over the money. We made it to the death of the baby elephant at which point my 8 year-old screamed and we ran out of the theater. Beautiful movie, but it should not be rated G.

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  12. We just saw the movie tonight and I have to agree with you. It was painfully hard to watch. I had no prior warning to the graphic details of these animal killings and brought a 9,8 and 3 year old to watch it. We left when we realized it wasn't going to stop! Like you said.. the film is beautiful with it's amazing views and scenery.. but the "feel good" feel wasnt there for more than 5 minutes before another slaughter was on its way in. I really hope that people get the word out to parents to not bring in their younger children. This movie never should have passed with a "G" rating!!! I'm so dissapointed with Disney!!

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  13. I saw it as well with my 5 year old son who loves animals under false preconceptions. We thought we were going to see a feel good (albeit a warning of the demise of the environment) celebration of nature and animals. For a G rating the filmmakers could have restrained themselves a bit on all the killing scenes(especially those with the added eerie effects of night vision or slow motion). Otherwise they should have shown it for what it is in the advertisements.

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  14. I hear you Anonymous! I am really not sure what they were thinking. Great for older (much older kids) but not so great for the little ones.

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  15. I'm a paramedic in real life and am very familiar with death, however this was a horrific movie. You think Disney and picture love and senitivity. This while, a decent BBC production, is not for children. I'm 27, as is my wife, and this was way to graphic for what it was billed as. Should never have been G and should not be portraid as a family film. It shoul be advertised as a look into the circle of life. The only reason we went so early was for the promise of a tree being planted. We should have bought the tickets and left. Then we could have left feeling good.

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  16. I am so sorry!!! I have been getting all kinds of these reviews. The movie is wonderful for what it is, but certainly not a G rating!!

    PS Thanks for your work for the public as a paramedic.

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  17. I felt ambushed going to this movie with my 16 & 12 year old daughters and 10 year old son. . .did anyone else get the feeling that after thousands of years, only over the last couple are the elephants being forced to march across the desert because the forest has been defoliated by our mini-van?
    How about all that hot air in that balloon? Could not match the pc propoganda these producers created.

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  18. I took my 8 yr. old son, his 8 yr. old friend and my 10 yr. old neice. I DO NOT understand how Disney could have rated this G. The kids in the theatre were jumping into their parents laps, crying absolutely horrified!! I thought Disney was more responsible at their ratings. Very Disappointed!!!

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  19. I really wish I had seen these reviews before buying this for my kids for Christmas. I had seen Planet Earth and would fast forward through the death scenes when the kids watched with me. When I saw this had a G rating I thought it would have all of the magic of Planet Earth without all of the killing but boy was I wrong. I was shocked that this would be considered a G rating and my kids 5 and 8 could not even sit through the entire movie. Very disappointed!

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  20. I just finished a discussion with my 9 year old who saw this movie today in his classroom. I'm very disappointed that they were shown this as he was in tears (and had me also in tears) describing the sadness of the animals dying or being injured/killed. It certainly does not sound like it should have been rated G, and does not sound like a movie I will ever watch and I'm sorry my 9 year old saw it today.

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