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Earth Blu-ray Review

DisneyNatureEarthBluray

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Argentinean) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Mexican) Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: A
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: Disney
  • Release Date: September 1, 2009
  • List Price: $39.99
 [amazon-product align="right"]B001UV4XWE[/amazon-product]
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Earth

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Overall
rating4
The Film
rating4
Video Quality
rating4-5
Audio Quality
rating4-5
Supplemental Materials
rating3-5

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

More Screen Captures (27 Total)

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG and thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

rating4

DisneyNature’s Earth is not exactly a new film. To those familiar with the BBC’s sprawling production Planet Earth, which ran in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel, there won’t be much new here to find. The fantastic multi-part documentary with breathtaking images and in depth narration has been available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and the now defunct HD DVD format since 2007.

Earth, however, takes the lengthy documentary and wraps it all up into a tidy, family friendly feature length film. Just as the U.S. version of Planet Earth replaced the brilliant narration by David Attenborough with Sigourney Weaver for its US run on the Discovery Channel, this US theatrical release of Earth substitutes James Earl Jones for Patrick Stewart. Viewers can debate endlessly whose narration is superior, but I’ll go on record as saying that once again the U.S. version has been crippled with the inferior narrator, despite my respect for Jones (and Weaver).

BDDefinitionearth-a1080

The film also lightens the detailed science lessons of naturalist Attenborough’s Planet Earth, making it more palatable for the younger audiences it is obviously intended for. It may not have the weight and impact of its lineage, but the awesomeness of the BBC’s camera work translates just as well, nonetheless. There are ample moments of unimaginably breathtaking footage, such as flyovers of a wolf hunt or a waterfall.

Putting aside the reuse of much of the footage and the film’s avoidance of the seemingly insoluble problems facing the planet and its inhabitants, Earth is undeniably evocative, beautiful and lush. It is a fitting dissertation on the subject of our planet and summation of five years of hard work on the part of the filmmakers.

Video Quality

rating4-5

BDDefinitionearth-xa1080

Earth arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding from Disney that looks every bit as spectacular as one would expect from a film based on the footage of Planet Earth. Of course, some of the same artifacts inherent to the original sources that can be seen on Planet Earth can still be seen here, such as some instances of video noise and posterization. Still, Earth looks to my eyes a tad bit sharper and more detailed than Planet Earth on Blu-ray. Colors are also lush, with vibrant blues and fertile greens. Shadow details are perfect and contrast is spot on. This will make for really good reference material eye candy.

Audio Quality

rating4-5

BDDefinitionearth-e1080

One thing Earth on Blu-ray has on it Planet Earth Blu-ray counterpart is a lossless soundtrack, as opposed to the formers Dolby Digital sound. Disney has provided Earth on Blu-ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that is absolutely superb. The surround channels are filled with the sounds of the natural world, from birdsong to monkeys wailing and more. Low frequencies are quite extended and the film’s classical score is smooth, dynamic and expansive. It’s an engaging mix that works perfectly with the material.

Supplemental Materials

rating3-5

BDDefinitionearth-n1080

While Earth’s supplements are not considerable, Disney has provided the title with an interesting interactive menu they’ve called the Living Menu, which presents the discs menu screen as an interactive globe with selectable points that offer pop-up trivia, video clips, and other ecological information on various locations around the world. The menu actually shows you your local time and weather, and will supposedly update monthly with new data.

The supplements available on this release:

  • Living Menu
  • Filmmakers Annotations — Watch the film the pop-up trivia facts and picture-in-picture commentary by the filmmakers.
  • Earth Diaries: The Making of Earth the Movie (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:42.32) — This detailed and informative documentary provides some good information on how the film crews captured those famous in Earth.
  • Sneak Peeks (high definition):
    • Up!
    • Santa Buddies
    • Disney Friends for Change
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition
    • Oceans
    • Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
    • On Blu-ray Disc
    • Disney Movie Rewards
  • Bonus DVD — Earth on Standard definition DVD

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating4

BDDefinitionearth-v1080

If you already own Planet Earth on Blu-ray Disc, then you may not necessarily need to purchase Earth on Blu-ray Disc, because everything in the film will already be familiar to you. If you have younger kids, however, it may still be worth a purchase. The film is much easier for younger audiences to digest and it’s just as beautiful to watch as its much lengthier and far more detailed parent.

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