Nature stars in Disney’s impressive "Earth"

The Seattle Times
by Moira Macdonald

Narrated with sonorous majesty by James Earl Jones, Disney’s rather generically titled nature documentary “Earth” flies us around the planet, finding wonders at every turn.

In New Guinea, a glossy black bird of paradise spreads his feathers like a cheerleader’s skirt, the better to look perky as he performs a mating dance. A penguin glides across the Arctic snow on his stomach — he is, we’re told, the only species equipped with a built-in toboggan. Baboons gingerly parade in a line through the flooded Okavango Delta, their cranky expressions indicating they just heard bad news about their 401Ks, or maybe that they just don’t like water.

Alastair Fothergill, creator of the TV series “Planet Earth,” and Mark Linfield codirected this film, the first from the studio’s new DisneyNature division. And while you wonder if this sort of photography might be best suited to a vast IMAX screen, “Earth” is impressive and often beautiful in its swooping views of a variety of creatures around the globe.

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