Monday, March 23, 2009

Disneynature's earth

Recently, I received a promotional flyer for earth, a new movie from Disneynature that opens on Earth Day (April 22). The movie will follow the stories of three families -- polar bears, African elephants, and humpback whales -- and the scenery that goes with them.

Before the movie opens, you can download the free earth Educator's Guide and earth Activity Guide by choosing the "for educators" button from the earth page. You can also play an online game or download new wallpaper. [Please note: all of these pages are extremely graphic-intensive.]

I have mixed feelings about Disney with regard to the environment. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, for example, attempts to show you "wild" nature through a highly manipulated and controlled environmental setting. On one hand, what you see is too sanitized and pretty (no blood-stained carcasses of dead prey on display, for example); on the other hand, it's too nature-intense (like using heated rocks to lure animals to certain locations so that visitors will be sure to see them). Don't get me wrong, I like Disney theme parks. But this one blurs the line between reality and fantasy in a way that rubs me wrong.

I also think Disney is missing the mark here -- and some of their target audience -- by not presenting low-bandwidth movie information.

Still, I am cautiously optimistic that earth will live up to its hype. The Disneynature website claims that if you buy a ticket to see earth during opening week, Disney will plant a tree in your honor. And their mailer was printed on recycled paper. :)

Photo credits: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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