Earth: One Amazing Day

 

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A less sure-footed yet truly memorable companion piece to Earth.

 
Earth: One Amazing day

  

Although made as a co-production with China, this film from BBC Earth is a follow-up to their feature of 2007 which simply had the title Earth. When reviewing that work in the Film Review Annual I gave it five stars and described it as wonderful. I then went on to stress that, despite some viewers being disdainful of nature films shown in cinemas due to so much comparable material being available on television (not least from the BBC itself), the impact of seeing this kind of footage on a large cinema screen enhances it beyond measure. That’s again the case with Earth: One Amazing Day which is visually stunning.

 

This new piece successfully imposes a structure on footage taken around the world by the simple expedient of portraying a single day on our planet from sunrise onwards. This enables the film to move from Africa to China, from Hungary to Ecuador and from the Arctic to the Antarctic without ever becoming a shapeless series of episodes. This wide-ranging material includes some strikingly dramatic moments, be it two giraffes fighting over territory, a zebra helping her foal to get across a river with a powerful current or iguanas threatened by snakes moving at speed. One recurring factor, doubtless emphasised for its appeal, is the loving care shown by various animals (that zebra, sperm whales, penguins and so on) for their young.

 

The natural world if full of wondrous beauty is, of course, also notable for its predatory side too and consequently a film like this prompts conflicted responses to the universe in which we live. But, in the case of Earth: One Amazing Day, I feel a certain conflict regarding the film itself and that explains why my rating for it is lower than the one that I gave to Earth. With different writers involved, the commentary this time around is rather too persistent and - what really matters - inclined to the banal (adult animals are on occasion referred to as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ while the planet Earth is described as ‘back home`): Robert Redford delivers this ably enough but cannot conceal its inferiority to the writing by Leslie Megahey and others for Earth. And then there’s the music score by Alex Hoffes which extends to wordless choral contributions to express awe, Disneyesque playfulness to underline comic scenes and no holds barred build-ups at moments of tension (luckily some of the most dramatic scenes are so strong that they have a real impact despite the self-conscious additional prompting from the orchestra). These are real weaknesses, but when set against the breath-taking imagery one can set them aside. Even if some parts of this film have already been seen on television, go and see them in the cinema for, judged as a visual experience, Earth: One Amazon Day deserves to be savoured.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  the voice of Robert Redford.

 

Dir Richard Dale, Lixin Fan and Peter Webber, Pro Stephen McDonagh, Screenplay Frank Cottrell Boyce, Richard Dale and Geling Yan, Ph Various, Ed Andi Campbell-Waite, Music Alex Hoffes.

 

Earth Film Productions-BBC Earth Films/Munro Films.
97 mins. UK. 2017. Rel: 20 October 2017. Cert. U.