A few years ago, BBC released a mini-series that detailed various aspects of our planet. Their team traveled the globe, shooting scenes of majesty, serenity, and heartbreak. After shooting for roughly five years, the directors put together an eight-part series that detailed the Earth, her creatures, and her past — Planet Earth. Using the same footage, they also released an eight-part series that detailed the oceans — Blue Planet. Both series are widely acclaimed, and are a popular feature on the Discovery Channel.
BBC, realizing the potential of a wider audience and more money, decided to display parts of their series in movie theaters. They simply could not figure out how to do this on their own. This is where Disney Nature stepped in, and took over production of the movie. Using three main story arcs (all involving youngsters and their mothers), Disney managed to combine the breathtaking footage with a story, creating what is needed for a movie. It worked perfectly. Not only is Earth a smash hit, they are planning on doing it again next year with Oceans, a similar retelling of Blue Planet.
Earth tells three main stories, all of which feature a mother and her youngsters as they struggle to survive in the harsh reality that is life. The polar bears struggle with a loss of ice, as the enhanced greenhouse effect (global warming to non-scientists) removes their hunting platforms. The elephants struggle against other animals and nature herself as lions and droughts cast a shadow over their lives. The humpback whales simply struggle with a trip, as an 8000 mile round trip to their hunting grounds is tedious and difficult.
Yet, outside of the three obvious stories, Earth tells a far more important one – that of Earth herself. By having snapshots of all the different creatures that inhabit our planet (save for ourselves), the movie shows us exactly what nature is, and what we need to protect. By attaching these creatures to stories of struggle, loss, and joy, Disney is able to weave a complicated message of conservation, care, and love. Basically, Earth tells us what is going to happen to our planet if we don't clean ourselves up.