This stunning valentine to our planet’s plants and animals re-purposes some of the footage from the stunning documentary Planet Earth into a more narrative storyline, taking us through the seasons and across the globe to see nature’s eternal themes of renewal and connection. We see cooperation and nurture by parents across species. And we see the perils of the animal world as well.
The narration drags at times, mostly avoiding getting too cute but sometimes, even with the voice of James Earl Jones, sounding too much like an educational film for Social Studies classrooms. It alternates between almanac-worthy facts and figures and cozy folkish narratives about the animal families, never matching the grandeur of the visuals.
Parents should know that there are some discreet references to the life cycle and survival issues, some G-rated footage of predators (no blood), and not all of the animals make it to the end of the movie. There are also references to the consequences of climate change on the habitats of the animals.
Topics for discussion: Which of the animals are most like humans? Why?
If you like this, try: Planet Earth, Microcosmos, and Winged Migration.