Earth (2007) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Documentary
Disney || G - 90 minutes - $39.99 || September 1, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-09-01


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
Writer(s): NA
Cast: James Earl Jones


Theatrical Release Date: April 22, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • PiP
  • Featurette
  • Living Menu
  • DVD Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

Have you seen "Planet Earth" before on Blu-ray/HD DVD? Well, you've already seen Disney's 'earth'. What Disney did was take all 14 hours of footage and splice it together into 90 minute form that somewhat tells the story of three different animal families (Polar Bear, Elephant, Whale) making a long journey.

There are a few faults with this method - for one, some of the best stuff from "Planet Earth" will clearly be missing. I really enjoyed the rainforest episode and that is not present in any way. Instead, they opted to showcase the above three stories with footage from other episodes that were simply not all that compelling in the first place.

Another major fault is since this is a Disney film most of the violence is gone. While a scene may end with death, here it is implied but never really shown to such a degree (they may 'die' but it won't be in a violent manner).

What works is James Earl Jones voice is rather pleasant. While the UK version has Patrick Stewart (yeah, Darth Vader vs. Captain Picard) I'm still pleased with Jones' work (though, to be honest, he probably only speakers for about 30% of the film).

Some of the more interesting sequences include the fast-motion cameras which stay in one position for weeks/month/years at a time capturing the growth and death of a plant. To me, this is fascinating as the image almost appears like animation as it sprouts from the ground, buds, flowers, and slowly dies out over the course of 30 seconds.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This Release includes an attractive slip cover.

Film Maker Annotations - This would be your PiP track that you can select to pop-up at various points of the film presenting you with even more footage (or alternate takes). ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Earth Diaries (43 Minutes) - Essentially more 'footage' that was already shown in the above PiP track.

Living Menu - An unadvertised special feature that when go the main menu (you must have your player already connected to the Internet) it will display the time and weather. This freaked me out the first time I put the disc in as I forgot my player has built-in WiFi. On top of that you can move the 'Earth' around and click on various locations to get small facts. Apparently every month it will update with new places to 'visit'... ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Also included is a bonus DVD copy of the film. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Disney's Earth is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB. If you've seen "Planet Earth" then you would know exactly what to expect. It's identical video (VC1 vs MPEG4 - though I didn't see anything different) with new narration. It still looks marvelous - lush shots of the forests, deserts, canyons etc. Quality at times can be a bit uneven simply because the way certain scenes are filmed and/or cameras used.

Disney has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track for this release. I don't believe it's been remastered from the previous Warner/BBC release, but once again the sound is incredible. Rear speakers are filled nearly the entire film with small, minimal noises.



.::OVERALL::.

It's tough to recommend this because given the street price ($25) you would probably find a better value just picking up "Planet Earth" which typically hovers around $40. The Special Features are not all that compelling either (though itís *new* stuff not on the previous BD/HD) and with identical picture and audio from "Planet Earth"... well, just get that.