Walt Disney Company’s new motion picture division, DisneyNature, released its first film, Disney Nature Earth, on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def and DVD earlier this month. Earth tells the stories of animals survival from pole to pole.
Narrated by James Earl Jones, Earth was good, but not spectacular. It features a lot of gorgeous eye candy and familiar Disney story telling, but I somehow felt I’d seen all of this before. (UPDATE: Thanks to one of my readers, I now realize that 60 percent of Earth was taken from the Planet Earth & The Blue Planet Seas of Life series.)
Yes, the stories of the various animal families was endearing, dramatic and at times heart breaking, but it’s typical Disney circle of life fluff that seems terribly old fashioned. Sure, Disney is used to anthropomorphizing animals in its cartoons, much to our amusement. But it doesn’t work so well in its documentaries because people need to realize that animals, while they deserve our care and respect, are not pets, but wild animals that will attack when threatened. I’ve seen many stupid people try to pet elk, buffalo and bears at national parks and I partially blame the “oh look at the cute wild animals” nature shows for this.
I guess they figure making animals seem human will make us feel more sympathy for them. Yet, ignoring scientific fact really ticks me off, like when the movie called the male polar bear the “father bear” when the only fatherly act he performed was mating with the polar bear mother to conceive a couple of cubs. Considering that the male polar bear was starving, if he was anywhere near his offspring, he probably would have tried to eat the defenseless cubs.
The ecological lessons seemed like an afterthought, too. Instead, I would have appreciated some facts and less fluff throughout the movie. Frankly, maybe it’s because the bar was set so high by Planet Earth & The Blue Planet Seas of Life that Earth seems to miss its mark.
Like the mating display of birds of paradise featured in the movie, Earth sure dances pretty, but doesn’t grab my attention enough to stick around.