A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Earth: One Amazing Day is a nature documentary that offers rare, close-up glimpses at the lives of animals all over the world. It's generally family-friendly, but you can expect some animal-on-animal violence and natural-world peril. The scene that might disturb young/sensitive viewers the most involves just-hatched iguanas being pursued by groups of snakes (one is caught and eaten). There are a few additional fighting and hunter-and-hunted scenarios, but they're less graphic. Other scenes show animals in danger, such as a baby zebra almost getting washed away by a current. But there's no language, sex, or substance use, and the movie offers a clear message about the importance of protecting ecosystems and the planet in general.
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What's the story?
Narrated by Robert Redford (or by Jackie Chan in Chinese-speaking territories), Earth: One Amazing Day is a follow up to 2009's Earth. It provides intimate looks at the lives of animals all over the world, including pandas, sloths, giraffes, glow worms, sperm whales, and many others. Many of the images are unusual and will surprise viewers, while some -- like those of animals fighting, in peril, or being hunted -- may leave young/sensitive viewers at least temporarily hiding their eyes.
Is it any good?
The art and technology of nature documentaries keep moving forward, as this beautifully filmed family-friendly entry proves. Though its unifying concept is thin (essentially, a glimpse at the lives of many animals around the world during one day), the incredible cinematography and rare captured moments should make it a rewarding experience for most. Earth: One Amazing Day offers many surprises, such as giraffes fighting and a sloth swimming. There are sperm whales sleeping vertically and hummingbirds warring with bees. Bioluminescent worms fashion nocturnal traps in caves. There are also moments of peril that might disturb the youngest and most sensitive of viewers, such as when just-hatched iguanas are pursued by hungry snakes, or when a baby zebra is in danger of being washed away by a current. But generally, it's family friendly, with plenty of views of cute beasts that might have kids looking googly-eyed at stuffed animals for a while.
Redford's English-language narration is generally functional, with a fair amount of repetition -- especially about how danger lurks here and there. The concept isn't that deep, but it's easy to see that the movie has its heart in the right place, occasionally reminding us of the preciousness and uniqueness of these creatures and their habitats. And you forgive the clichéd use of music in exchange for the rarity and intimacy of the images. Earth: One Amazing Day, at its best moments, does actually amaze.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the intended message of Earth: One Amazing Day. When it talks about Earth's possible uniqueness and brings you up close to the animals, do you think it's trying to tell you something about the importance of conservation? What do you think "conservation" means in this context?
Were there images or facts that surprised you? How did the depictions of animals differ from what you were used to -- or what you expected?
Some of the animal death scenes may be upsetting, but they're also part of nature. How do kids feel about seeing some animals attack others? Does it make them feel differently about the predators?
Which were your favorite animals in the movie? Why?
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