Dawn. An amazing time of day. The last vestiges of night are behind and the sun’s power begins to be felt as wildlife around the world wake to a new morning. Earth: One Amazing Day takes the viewer on a twenty-four-hour whistle stop tour of the planet and the amazing species to which the sun gives life.
This film is a kaleidoscopic journey of colour and action. We are propelled across the continents as the day progresses. Starting with a visit to a chinstrap penguin colony near Antarctica and cranes in the Russian Steppes, we travel far and wide. After following the fortunes of zebra searching for fresh water under the midday African sun, we watch young hatchling marine iguana on the Galapagos Islands as they attempt to outrun marauding groups of whip snakes equally intent on eating them for lunch.
Some of the most amazing footage is left to the end of the film, when the sun again sets and a nocturnal world of bizarre animals and bio-luminescence takes over. The last few scenes are more Avatar than David Attenborough, but end the film with some stunning footage.
Most films with an ecological theme carry a strong message about what needs to be done to protect the planet. Earth: One Amazing Day hints, towards the end, that we can and should be doing more. But the subtle messaging is quite refreshing. Instead of the threats of impending doom there is a very gentle appeal to act for the wonderful planet with which we have been entrusted.
This is Blue Planet without David Attenborough (indeed it includes footage from his previous programmes). And the almost constant musical score, and narration, perhaps make the film feel more like a revamped 1980’s National Geographic programme from the US.
Earth: One Amazing Day is easy watching with stunning photography, a film to sit back and enjoy. It may give some viewers a fresh appreciation for the planet; but it may leave others wondering quite what was its point, beyond the images. On its own it won’t be a game changer in terms of how people relate to the planet, but it could open conversations about the importance of more profound environmental education and effective community-based conservation projects.
Andy Lester is the conservation director of the environmental charity A Rocha UK. A writer, speaker and ecologist, Andy has degrees in the Green Economy and Environmental Management. He is a columnist for a regional newspaper and local chair of the Hampshire and Isle of White Wildlife Trust. Andy is married to his South African wife Jacqui and they live with their four sons near the New Forest in Hampshire.