Thursday, April 22, 2010


Splash Down

In case you're not already aware, today marks Earth Day as we sit back and reflect upon the evils that we do on a daily basis, through our actions and inactions causing the planet great stress in its ability to sustain life, and the systematic eradication of creatures with whom we share Nature with. Things we don't see we fail to understand, and Earth the documentary film provides that rare glimpse into the far flung reaches of the Earth, from Pole to Pole through the course of a year and its seasons, from the depths of the oceans to the highest mountain peaks. It's almost Planet Earth digested into 100 minutes, with an environmental message that all will be lost should we continue doing what we're doing.

The version shown here is the UK version with the venerable Patrick Stewart providing the narration. Other versions include James Earl Jones doing the same for the US one (I would love to hear his deep resonating baritone voice), and Ken Watanabe in the Japanese version. With nature documentaries, one will appreciate the intricate details and craft in creating a story out of the footage shot, and leaving it up to the narrator to keep it engaging through expression alone.

Then there's the unforgettable, gorgeous cinematography that will leave you spellbound and taking your breath away each time, be it satellite inspired wide angled shots seen from outer space or high up in the atmosphere, or microscopic time lapsed ones that show the many changes over the passage of time. What's definitive about this film is its never shying away from the circle of life, where hunter and prey jostle for survival of the fittest, where the slightest mistake by either party is a matter of life and death. For this, the deliberate slow motion accentuates the sense of danger and adrenaline felt, and like poetry in motion, we bear witness to how a leopard goes all out to capture its prey, or how the great white shark beautifully emerges Jaws like at its prey, complete with a twist and choreographed fall back into the ocean.

It's witnessing a Noah's Ark worth of animals trying to make sense of the inexplicable changes to their habitats, which turns the world as they know it topsy-turvy, as they go about their season routine now with greater difficulty. We see how the melting polar caps wreck havoc on the Polar Bear's hunt, and how long distance the Elephant herd have to trek in search of water, desert land slowing creeping up the composition of land mass on Earth. Or how far the Humpback Whales must swim, no longer fueled by the plankton required for energy along the way. It's a little painful and heart wrenching even to watch how the animals struggle to keep their offspring and species alive, while we contribute directly to their challenges, and continue to plunder and waste.

I'm pretty glad and somewhat surprised as well that the theatre chain showing this, decided to go the distance by screening it in one of the largest halls available, where it can easily do so in one of the very small ones given the unfortunate lacklustre response to a nature documentary. A misbehaving projector aside which got repaired before screening began (and a prompt notification of the offer of a refund, which nobody took up), it makes it all the more worthwhile to witness Nature digitally on the big screen, with an awesome sound system.

If you watch this and don't feel a thing or a need to change, then surely you do not have a heart. Time to reduce even further, and reuse and recycle even more. Do something, not nothing. Don't let this slip your grasp, and visit for more information.

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