Saturday, 5 January 2008

earth: the movie

Earth is the feature length version of BBC’s Planet Earth series. It was released in November 2007 so I’m behind the times with these thoughts and worse still I’m more than likely one of very few people in the UK to have missed the series when it aired on terrestrial TV. I didn’t see even one episode.

But I’m no freak. I’d go as far as to say I’m cursed – as are many – to work for the travel media or within travel as a wider industry. I'm always working, reading and recovering from deadlines. I forget to engage with my TV when i really should. Plus, when passion for the next new journey fires your imagination and makes your blood simmer with adrenaline, it’s impossible to feel anything short of regret for another day of your life spent holed up inside the publishing department’s hanger of an office, missing everything.

Yes, I love editing guidebooks, picking cover shots and chit-chatting with authors. In theory it’s my dream profession. But the world, our planet Earth, in the flesh and with all its wonders feels as far away as Mars. Nothing compares to smelling the air of a new country and feeling an unfamiliar humidity or chill on your skin.

This Saturday lunchtime Earth brought solace. More so, it set my skin tingling and eyes watering with its beautifully captured narrative of a year on our planet. Spectacular cinematography filmed in HD took me as close to the chill of the Artic seas, to the thermals that whip majestic Himalayan heights and the eye-stinging desert sand storms as I fear I’ll get in 2008.

Earth’s year was displayed, not from a human point of view but from that of stars cast from the animal kingdom. The A-List: a polar bear family, a herd of elephants and mother humpback whale with her calf. Uniting their stories is their migrations for food: their shared tragedy is global warming, the effects of which could change their environments to the point that their tragic-comedic narratives will be cut short – more bluntly, their species become extinct.

I cried at the obviously tragic parts but also at the staggering beauty of the planet played out in large screen. The innovative cinematography brought me closer, more intimate with the animals’ stories and habitats than I’ve ever experienced from any wildlife documentaries to date. Earth has to be seen for its own beauty and for planet Earth’s beauty to be believed.

Remain apathetic to travel, wildlife and the plight of the planet after this and you deserve to see out your days at a desk, stagnating beneath the fluorescent lighting in a hanger of an office. Today I vowed to myself that year 2008 will be my last one spent penned in.

BBC's LoveEarth site