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What is Disneynature?

04.22.2008

From 1948 through 1960, Walt Disney offered theatre goers a look at nature with True Life Adventures that brought audiences closer to the Living Desert, Beaver Valley, Seal Island and many other tales of the great outdoors. The series of films earned the studio several Academy Awards with many an imagination filled. It was something that many of you probably don’t remember, and frankly, neither do I. But they have since been released on DVD and possibly sparked interest in returning to those days of real life wonderment.

On April 21st, at a press conference held at Walt Disney Studios, JoBlo and several other journalists all across the board were given a sneak peak at Disney’s latest goodness. Disney has launched a new label called Disneynature. It is a chance to gather some of the best documentary filmmakers to go to the ends of the earth telling stories of nature at its wildest. The first feature, which will be released on April 22nd, 2009, Earth Day appropriately enough, is entitled EARTH.

EARTH is co-directed by the award-winning British producer/director Alastari Fothergill who gave us the fascinating BBC and The Discovery Channel series “The Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”. Sharing in directing duties is Mark Linfield with BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media producing. This will be a larger than life exploration of three different stories which all somehow interconnect. And while nature films may not sound that exciting to many of you, the visuals we previewed were incredibly powerful. In some ways, it reminded me of two fantastic films that, if you haven’t seen them, you really should, KOYAANISQATSI and POWAQQATSI. While those two features were masterpieces in vision in sound, EARTH has a traditional documentary feel, which includes narration by James Earl Jones. But still, to see thousands of birds soaring across a beautiful landscape inside a movie theatre is a pretty impressive experience.

Disneynature will continue to offer the same legacy that “True-Life Adventures”” offered but with a newly found technology that enables these filmmakers to get even closer to these amazing subjects than ever before. The have found ways to bring the camera as close as possible, and without having to disturb the subjects habitats in many cases. Other times, they find themselves in dangerous territory, including a amazing image of a diver swimming alongside a great white shark. I seriously want to do that… but probably won‘t.

Among the many other films coming soon to a theatre near you will be THE CRIMSON WING: MYSTERY OF THE FLAMINGOS which is co-directed by Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward and is scheduled to soar in December 2008. OCEANS is co-directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud and looks to be my favorite of the upcoming features, I’’m all about the giant squids and great white sharks baby. You can dive down into that sometime in 2010.

Other releases include ORANGUTANS: ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT directed by Charlie Hamilton Jones. BIG CATS co-directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill. NAKED BEAUTY: A LOVE STORY THAT FEEDS THE EARTH directed by Louie Schwartzberg (its about flowers people). And finally, there is CHIMPANZEE co-directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield. Each of these will be released somewhere between 2010 and 2012.

From where I was sitting, this is something that, although not necessarily the most original idea, it seems that Disneynature really wants to offer up the absolute best with this kind of journey. I do question whether audiences will find it in their hearts and wallets to shell out money for something like this, when they can watch Shark Week on The Discovery Channel. But in my honest opinion, after sitting through several strikingly beautiful images by some world renowned filmmakers, I think I might find it worthwhile to hit the Cineplex to revisit films that are this awe-inspiring. After all, the first time I say KOYAANISQATSI and POWAQQATSI, I was lucky enough to see a double feature in a darkened theatre, and they remain a fond movie going memory. What about you guys? How does this rate with all the Schmoes out there? Spit some bullets below.

Source: JoBlo.com

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