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Rated G · 2009
This first feature from Disney's new nature division has an encyclopedic reach and spectacular footage shot by more than two dozen crack cinematographers. The loose narrative tracks three wildlife animal families—polar bears, African elephants, and a humpbacked whale and her calf—over the course of a year, digressing to cover many other exotic species. About a quarter of the footage comes from the 2006 BBC miniseries Planet Earth, and the polar bear story mirrors one in National Geographic's large-format documentary Arctic Tale (2007). But this also bears the stamp of directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, who collaborated on the TV show; they know how to craft a sequence (lions and elephants uneasily drinking at the same water hole), have an eye for the telling shot (baboons mincing across a flood plain), and mercifully avoid making the fauna look human. James Earl Jones narrates, teetering on self-parody. G, 93 min.
Director: Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield
Producer: Sophokles Tasioulis and Alix Tidmarsh
Cast: James Earl Jones

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