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The West Wing
A documentary focused on – what else? – Planet Earth, from top to tail and through each season, observing in particular the trials and triumphs of three “families”: polar bears, whales, and elephants. I think we’ve got those families in my ‘hood.
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Believe it or not, it’s hard for me to be snarky about this one. I’ve seen this trailer a couple times so far on the big screen, and although I must admit an initial ‘ripped-off’ feeling when it first begins - (Hey I’m at the movies to have fun, not get edumacated!) - the viewer can’t deny its power nor escape its pull.
First of all, frickin’ Darth Vader is narrating!! The polar opposite of the Death Star, this starring sphere Earth is all about life, life, baby. Life projected to the maximum of earthly senses – well, minus smell, touch and taste that is…. The cinematography is breathtaking, the score uplifting. Kumbaya.
Yet I must admit, it does feel like we’ve seen and heard this all before….
Indeed (and purists be warned) this film is just the North American release of the 2007 UK release, which itself was derived from the vastly praised BBC series, Planet Earth. But it is undeniably something worth seeing, in any incarnation, indefinitely…. [And if the featured song sounds familiar, it was recently used in the Slumdog Millionaire trailer, and apparently is wildly popular in its own right: CLICK HERE to WATCH IT].
Speaking of familiarity, the shot of the elephant family ‘lining up’ nose-to-tail reminded me of seeing the exact same image in actuality while on safari in South Africa a couple of years ago. At the time, it was a surreal experience to be present within such a tableau, ‘live’; it actuality felt like I was watching from afar – it could have been on a panoramic movie screen before me. I sense this film could invoke the flipside of that experience: that watching it, the viewer will feel there, in a sort of merged reality of our existence and that of the living world portrayed. Making that visceral connection is the key to any environmental agenda here, to be sure, let alone creative one.
Some may cry foul at the (visual and auditory) hallmarks of manipulation here…. But this is the sort of content we homo sapiens should be manipulated by. A baby chick taking that first leap out of its nest contains more heart or thrill than anything else at your local multiplex this weekend….. It’s like the Darwinian amalgamation of “The Soloist” and “Obsessed” and “Fighting” all in one! It’s Chick II: High Altitude ~ The bird means business.
Still, it’s doubtful Earth will stampede the box-office. The mass audience should take a cue from said chick, and take the path less chosen. It’s never too late for our perspective, our taste, to evolve.