Celebrate “Earth” at the movies

Jason Singer
Mar 23, 2010


For those of you who loved “March of the Penguins,” say hello to “Earth,” a new documentary from Disney, which will be released tomorrow (Earth Day).
It’s G-rated, but don’t expect only cute and cuddly.
In one scene, an arctic wolf chases a caribou through Northern Canada before the caribou breaks its legs. You can only imagine what happens next.
In other scenes, a baby elephant is separated from its mother and dies, or the father of two playful polar bear cubs bleeds to death after a close encounter with a walrus tusk.
Bottom line: Nature is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty.
Mark Linfied, the co-director of “Earth,” said the filmmakers didn’t want to “Disney-ify” nature.
“Movies have grown so artificial — computer-generated and such — that there is a strong desire to see something beautiful and real,” said Jean-François Camilleri, a Disney veteran who runs Disneynature — the division of Disney which is releasing the film.
As evidence, Camilleri cited the success of “March of the Penguins,” which made $127.5 million, and the widely popular “Planet Earth,” a mini-series on the Discovery Channel.
Disney hopes “Earth” gets similar results. The movie follows three families of animals for one year: Humpback whales, polar bears and elephants. The always-soothing James Earl Jones will narrate.
“Earth” is the first movie to be released by Disneynature, a division that will specialize in nature documentaries. Forthcoming films include “Naked Beauty,” about flowers and their pollinators, and “Big Cats,” which follows three mothers — a lioness, a leopard and a cheetah — as they explore the African plains.
Camilleri said Disneynature wants to show audiences parts of their world they haven’t seen.
“Our mission is to make movies true to nature and to follow the stories that already have been vetted by nature,” he said. “In nature you find the best scripts and scenarios. Who would have been able to write ‘March of the Penguins,’ a story about a father who sits on an egg and a mother who walks 200 miles to bring back food? No scriptwriter could have come up with that.”
“I want audiences to come out thinking they’ve been on an exotic vacation for 90 minutes.”
If you buy tickets for “Earth,” Disney will plant a tree in your honor. Check out the trailer for “Earth” below: