Two Cineasts’s review published on Letterboxd:
A love letter to our „Planet Earth“
“If we disappeared overnight, the world would probably be better off.”
Hi everybody, a few month ago Nico, the other part of the Two cineasts, wrote a beautiful little review about one of the greatest documentaries of all time. Not only in nature documentary, no in all genres of documentaries. The title of the movie is „Earth“ and it had a huge impact on my life. Never before I had seen pictures like that. The beauty and purity seeks his peers. So here a big thank you to Nico, for your warm and true words. So after focusing on smaller production in recent reviews , I thought about the next film I want to write about. I checked out my blu ray and DVD collection and stumbled over this masterpiece here. I remembered that „Earth“ is something like the cinema version of the series „Planet Earth“, which comes as a seven hour mother of all documentaries and even tops the cinema version.
In eleven episodes we follow the team of unique photographers to all the magical regions of our „Planet Earth“. From North Pole to South Pole, from the deep sea to the highest peaks and from the driest deserts to the tropical rain forests, we witness the beauty in all of her diversity.
“Ever since we arrived on this planet as a species, we’ve cut them down, dug them up, burnt them and poisoned them. Today we’re doing so on a greater scale than ever.“
After the release of this series and the follow up 100 minutes cinema version „Earth“, we can see that there’s a cut in how nature documentaries had been and in how they could been, from then on. There is definitely a time before and a time after this remarkable work.
The efforts that had been taken to produce this monumental document are more than impressive. Just imagine, they needed more then five years for the production and spend more then 2.000 days in free nature. 40 camera teams and nature photographers had filming on more then 200 locations, in 26 country’s. The result: more then 1000 hours of footage and more then enough material to produce this series and the theatrical motion picture. The production budget was estimated with 25 million dollars, still the highest budget for nature documentary. And alone the theatrical release had a world wide box office of over 100 million dollars, still the highest grossing of a nature documentary film. You see the stats are amazing, like the final product.
"An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment."
Mastermind behind this epic project is Alistair Fothergill. He proved his talent before with wonderful nature films like the tv series „The blue planet“ and the cinema movie „Deep blue“. Just like in the case of „Earth“ and „Planet Earth“, he takes unused material from the series for the later theatrical released picture. But with this series here and his little cinema brother he has outdone himself. Leave alone the pure idea of doing such an immense undertaking, but the realization sounds like wishing dream for every nature photographer and cameraman. The patience you need as a professional to wait hours or days or even weeks to get the perfect shot, or even sometimes not, is unbelievable. To collect hours of footage and choose the right piece for the final film, sounds like an impossible job for me. For the luck of all documentary fans, it wasn’t my job to do it.
No, it was Mr. Fothergill and his Co Producer Mark Linfield who decided. Mr. Linfield is also a very experienced nature filmmaker, he later produced the tv series „Frozen Planet“, again with Alistair.
After the huge critical, commercial and tv success of this masterpiece and it’s cinema release, the production efforts and production quality became standard for all upcoming nature productions, that wants to be taken seriously.
"It is, surely, our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth."
I don’t want to take away your chance to experience the movie all by yourself, so I don’t give you an episode guide and description of every episode. Just let me give you this little preview. The series will bring you to crowded wild places and misty regions of the unknown. Caves, mountains, big oceans and lakes you will discover, like you never saw them before. The same with deserts, tropical forests and the cold Poles in North and South. In every running minute you will be enchanted.
And again and again I must say, I can’t praise the team behind the camera enough. It would burst the frame of a review to write a short notice to all of the men and women who captured these lasting impressions. All the talent and diversity they bring in the film is simply breathtaking. Like nature itself. Everyone with their own specification(s). There are underwater and deep sea photography, the same like over water pictures. Photos out of an airplane or helicopter for wide angle shots of nature and massive animal crowds. A healthy stamina for filming in extreme heights and a good stamina by enduring days of waiting. On the other hand they must have fast reflexes for the shooting of a wolf party that hunts or a wild cat that purchased his victim.
You see the wide variety of their capability’s is extraordinary.
Interesting fact for you. You know why the cameramen of Hollywood were called cinematographers? Yeah, it’s because there are so many different types of photography and filming. Now imagine they would give the Oscars to the best camera people of the year, no different categories, just the best. In eight, at least seven out of ten cases, a nature photographer would win, no doubt. Serious, a master of cinematography like Emanuel Lubezki, and three time Academy Award winner, can always say „Stop!...Let’s do it again...“ A nature documentary camera operator can’t do that. If the moment passes and he didn’t focused on the scene, the moment is over, maybe forever. This one moment when the snow leopard glimpse in his direction or make this one priceless thing, that’s the moment the person must be there, doesn’t matter how long or debilitating the way to this moment was.
A big hooray for this real magicians behind the camera.
"I'm not an animal lover if that means you think things are nice if you can pat them, but I am intoxicated by animals."
A nature documentary is a perfect example for films that show and don’t tell. But nevertheless a good narrator is brilliant choice to guide thru movies. The narrator can bring in some humor to light up a scene or can increase some tense moments if necessary. Normally a characteristic and unmistakable voice, but in here the voice master.
The brother of famous director and Oscar winner Richard Attenborough is the man to this voice. David Attenborough, world wide renowned scientist, naturalist and climate activist. He also directed some nature documentaries and becoming a public educator, like Neil de Grasse Tyson. He sits in tv studios and interviews for magazines and brings a lot of topics closer to a lot of people.
He is no Hollywood Star with a great voice, he is a man from the subject and of course he also have a really pleasant voice. In many other famous works we can hear his narration, like „The blue Planet“, „Deep Blue“, „Earth“, „Frozen Planet“, „Planet Earth II“ or „The blue Planet II“. Always a pure enjoyment to listen to his words. He wrote almost every text by his own, so, more or less a screenplay writer. Thank you wise man, for your enlightening words and thoughts.
“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.”
What conclusion or interpretation I can give you, that do justice to this monumental picture. This docu shows us the complexity and beauty, the uniqueness and vulnerability, the priceless value of a place we treating like there are dozens of them. Our earth is a unique little blue dot, in the infinity of space like Carl Sagan said. According to today’s science, there is no equal planet in our reach. And that’s the thing instead of investing all the money of the world in wars and banks, we should start to think bigger. All this foolish talking about borders, country’s, religious differences and races, are stopping our evolution to finally leave our crib and visit our Kindergarten. The solar system must be our first step out into the wide open galaxy. To find new places to live on, maybe even starting to share with others. Because if we won’t look up very soon, this beautiful little „Planet Earth“ became our tomb. Never forget we don’t kill the planet, please don’t believe that, we kill our habitat in which we live. I mean everyone of you with children would kill for his kid, but instead of leave them a world they can live in, we leave them a world that become more and more intoxicated by poisonous gas in the air and micro plastic everywhere. So everyone of you who cares for their little ones, start to make the world a better place or at least don’t make it worse. Imagine that, we will probably the only species in the history of earth who exterminates itself. But the earth will circle on, until the sun will burn her in a billion of years. So it’s better to treat the treasure we live on like she deserves it, with respect and kindness.
"Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics."
Now there is nothing more for me to say as watch it... just buy it, rent it or steal it, you will not regret it. This is the „Godfather“ under the documentary’s. Such an entertaining and informative series. I hope you all will enjoy it the same like we did. Full stars recommendation from Two cineasts.
All the quotes from David Attenborough we used, are a compilation of his best quotes in tv, magazines and movies. We found them on the internet side: www.mirror.co.uk
Thank you for the great selection.