Wednesday, April 15, 2009

EARTH...the movie

One week from today, Disney will release its latest feature film entitle "Earth." Created in partnership with the BBC'ers who put together the hit documentary series, "Planet Earth," the purpose of the movie is to relate the life story of three different animal families. Using incredible footage and the commanding oration of James Earl Jones, it is no coincidence that the film will be released on Earth Day. Having recently discussed this movie with someone who saw the movie at a pre-screening, it is difficult to predict how it will be received. According to this source, the animals were cute and the scenery was pretty but the producers neglected to make any real statement on current, controversial environmental issues. 

Although I will wait to pass judgment until I see the latest Disney installment for myself, it does raise some interesting questions about Disney's obligation to produce socially responsible or educational material. Based on the discussion of "Bambi" a few posts ago, it seems clear that Disney movies have the capacity to make an impact. "Bambi" influenced the discourse on white-tailed deer and wildlife conservation in general, and continues to do so years after the movie was released. With the production of "Earth," it appears Disney has another opportunity to make a significant impact on the public's environmental discourse. Bearing in mind Disney's ability to target a range of age groups, are they obligated to disseminate a strong environmental message that could potentially incite real change in public opinion? If the movie really does fail to make a statement, has Disney copped out? Have they shirked their social responsibility?

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