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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Fantastic Planet Earth

I write fiction. That’s my bread and butter. Ever since I was young I told stories. Such wild exaggerations of the truth that it became obvious to my parents I had a knack for storytelling. My dad even encouraged me to become a writer or else I would get in trouble for all my fibs.  And after I discovered the attraction of fantasy stories, I was hooked. I think it goes without saying speculative, science-fiction and fantasy writers are drawn to the ability to create new and incredible worlds. At least that’s why I write. Beyond the roster of new people one can birth, the pure escapism of constructing the details of a civilization and its surrounding environment is addictive. For the longest time I felt the universe’s greatest sights were locked inside the brains of writers. Then I saw Planet Earth.
Land and water have been filmed countless times before. But Planet Earth separates their series into segments that honor each habitat with the detail-oriented attention they deserve. In each venue, predator and prey shine harmoniously, neither ever stealing the spotlight as the array of animals transitions gracefully with the changing arenas.  The mysticism of a solitary snow leopard or the raw power of the migrating wildebeest, the focal creatures in each installment show the delicate balance every corner of our world supports.
From the great plains through forests and into the mountains, these locations can be found nearly everywhere and yet, despite their obvious differences, they encapsulate the likeness of unlike locations. There exists a circle of life (as my favorite, nature-oriented childhood film would say) that is demonstrated in this program as an essential cog in the cohesive functioning of our planet. This becomes clear in the desserts episode which proves that even in an arid, unrelenting environment, life can thrive. Planet Earth reminds viewers, there is always more we can learn and the wonders in shallow seas and worlds of ice reinforce the need to question ones surroundings and explore. A meager three percent of the water on Earth is freshwater, and its titular show brilliant depicts the amazing home this precious recourse provides to an ever-growing populace.
Many of Planet Earth’s locations can be visited, and some play the role as home for our human brethren, but there are a few locations that remain out of reach. Delving into caves and deep water, these exclusive shots invite viewers to witness the least explored depths of our planet and the intricate formations that house spectacular creatures. The sheer awesome expanse of these subterranean habitats stirs a primal need for answers, and Planet Earth delivers. Ultimately, the most intriguing installment of Planet Earth is the jungle. Few people have ever seen the elusive animals captured on film for this episode, never mind taking the time to study its unparalleled foliage. The dancing bird of paradise becomes an instant salesman for the series, seducing viewers and mates alike.
Planet Earth enlists sweeping aerial views and time-lapse photography used to show the grand scale of diversity and transformation our world performs day-to-day in breathtaking fashion. These majestic views pair beautifully with the entrancing tone of Sigourney Weaver’s voice who narrates the series with elegance. Discovery and the BBC orchestrated a fantastical perspective on planet Earth never before attempted by wildlife filmmakers. Their five year journey produces proof that sometimes storybooks are not the only place where fantasy lives.

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