"How can people be expected to care if they aren't inspired? This is a movie designed to inspire."
That's they way producer Alastair Fothergill described his highly anticipated new film Earth this week at the film's early screening in DC.
Now I am not, nor claim to be, a movie critic, but if Fothergill's, and director Mark Linfield's intent was inspiration, they completely and utterly deliver throughout their 85 minute film.
I write this as a 28 year old dude who regularly claims not to give a (insert expletive) about polar bears and wildlife.
I grew up in the rural south; I like football and NASCAR; I drink beer in unhealthy quantities, and unbeknownst to me before this week, the planet I live on is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
...and yes, I will admit: "I (heart) baby-ducks-jumping-out-of-trees for-the-first-time." I may make a bumper sticker. Or better yet, as a progressive, I may start a caucus.
Earth is a stunning masterpiece that will leave even the most ardent coal lobbyist in awe of our planet and yearning to see more -- and to preserve it.
The Earth team spent 5 years and over 2,000 hours in the field, and in so doing have brilliantly captured the incredible mystery, wonder, horror, and beauty that is our Home.
Even the trailer will give you chills:
For those that are fans of the Discovery/BBC Planet Earth documentary series, you will see some familiar footage, though weaved into a narrative with three lead characters: a polar bear, a humpback whale, and an elephant.
Cliche characters all, it's true, but in this film you will see them in an entirely new and never-before-captured light.
Noticeably absent from the film is the blood and gore side of the circle of life typically depicted in other nature films. Rather, the directors artfully tackle life and death as though the nature film was a dramatic ballet. That is to say, there is clear indication of the ultimate outcome, but instead of noticing it, you will be transfixed by nearly-perfected bodies in motion.
As a cheetah runs down a gazelle or as a two thousand pound great white shark leaps 10 feet out of the water while clashing its jaws around a seal, one cannot help but marvel at the impossible beauty of two predators at the height of their evolutionary development ...and slowed down 40x.
Throughout, this film is simply breathtaking.
Also noticeably absent is any message of impending doom or destruction. There is clearly an underlying tone that our planet is warming and that the climate is changing, and that is having an effect on the film's stars (particularly the polar bear) -- but the filmmakers do so without political bent and in stark contrast to films like Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and DiCaprio's 11th Hour.
Again, this film is aimed to inspire. And it does.
So whether you are 7 years old or 97 -- and yes, even if you are a twenty-something dude from Columbia, TN -- on April 22nd, do yourself and the planet a favor, and let Earth inspire the hell out of you too.