'Earth' documentary not to be missed

In the new BBC documentary “Earth: One Amazing Day,” the filmmakers this time call it a whistle-stop exploration of the entire planet.

You think your day was rough? At least you didn’t have to outrace an army of slithering snakes on your first day. Or cross a swollen river filled with hungry predators. Or, despite being exhausted, brave huge Arctic waves to get home.

Such are the daily challenges shown with wondrous detail in the new BBC documentary “Earth: One Amazing Day,” which gets close enough to some remarkable critters that you can see fur twitch, nostrils flare and even hear them snore.

The Earth might be the film’s titular star but the documentary is really about the sun and how that star’s waxing and waning energy over 24 hours shapes life down here, from the warmth of morning to the shadows of night.

“We all have one thing in common: Our lives are driven by the rhythm of night and day,” says narrator Robert Redford, whose welcome voice guides viewers through danger and silliness alike. The film directed by Richard Dale, Peter Webber and Fan Lixin, comes a decade after the release of the film “Earth,” a re-cut version of the BBC series “Planet Earth” which took viewers from the North to the South poles. The filmmakers this time call it a whistle-stop exploration of the entire planet. We encourage you to hop aboard.

Ti Gong

The new BBC documentary “Earth: One Amazing Day” makes a whistle-stop exploration of the entire planet over 24 hours.

It starts at a misty dawn with a standard, crowd-pleasing character in nature documentaries — a deliriously cute panda cub, waking up. We then go to the African savannah to catch a serval hunting with huge leaps in the air and then to the Pacific to see armies of iguanas on rocks waiting for the sun’s warmth. As the sun grows stronger, cameras capture another staple of such documentaries — the treacherous river crossing. This time a zebra foal makes the stomach-twisting attempt and it’s hard not to cheer when she finally makes it.

The 100-strong camera crew took advantage of leaps in technology, including stronger batteries to help capture animals with more motion-detection devices, the ability to record 1,000 frames per second and improvements in low-light cinematography. There’s one astounding aerial sequence of a racket-tail hummingbird facing-off against a swarm of angry bees that is an absolute cinematic triumph.

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