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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Planet Earth is a flat-out gorgeous high-definition nature series that uses cutting-edge film equipment to capture never-before-seen animal behavior from around the world. Viewers' respect for nature and wildlife will grow with every scene -- with the impulse to protect the world's delicate balance likely to follow. Some scenes show animals hunting and killing their prey (often up close), which might frighten young viewers. But for families with kids old enough to understand basic animal behavior, the series will entertain and educate in a whole new way.
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What's the story?
Elephants, lions, great white sharks, Emperor penguins, polar bears, dolphins, and many more star in PLANET EARTH -- which helps explain why it took 71 camera people five years to capture the footage used in the 11 episodes. Filmed entirely in high definition and with cutting-edge filmmaking techniques that allow unique, close-up views of animal behavior, the show reaches to the remotest corners of the earth and leads viewers through the planet's harshest deserts, richest jungles, and darkest caves.
Is it any good?
Never before have the world's many wonders been quite as accessible as they are in this stunning nature series. In the filming process, many shots and events were captured on camera for the first time; viewers will marvel at a glimpse of the rare snow leopard (one of only 40 surviving in the wild) hunting in the Himalayas, the blue bird of paradise strutting his stuff to woo a mate, and grizzly bears bringing their newborns out into the light.
Planet Earth also uses flawless time-lapse photography to show climate and seasonal changes -- like a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert or the transformation of parched desert land in Africa into a lush feeding ground for species of all shapes and sizes. Satellite photos of Earth and high-speed cameras that preserve animals' motion round out this truly unprecedented package. Narrated by actress/conservationist Sigourney Weaver, Planet Earth will educate and inspire the whole family. Just take care to explain the basics of animal behavior to young viewers, because some scenes of creatures hunting and killing prey could upset them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what sets Planet Earth apart from other nature series. Does the high-definition footage make that big a difference? Why? Did you learn anything new from this series?
What's more exciting -- the way the show looks, or the animal behavior it presents?
What does it mean for a species to be endangered? What factors contribute to endangerment?
Compile ideas about recycling, saving energy, and other ways to help the environment. What effect do small changes like riding a bus instead of driving or taking a shorter shower have? How can people be encouraged to make little changes that matter?
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