Probably one of the most moving films ever made about the beauty of our planet and the predicament of its creatures, Earth by Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield provided spectacular nature and wildlife footages set against the story of three animal families. A re-cut version of the BBC Series Planet Earth, the movie was narrated by Patrick Stewart and set to a stirring soundtrack played by the Berlin Philarmonic.
With breathtaking shots of hundreds of thousands of birds flying in the air, and astounding scenes of school fishes escaping from their aquatic predators, Earth was a visual feast second to none. Here's a trailer to whet your appetite.
The first and probably most memorable scenes were that of a family of polar bears struggling against the vagaries of a melting Arctic ice-cap. It was impossible not to adore the two cute and clumsy cubs sliding in the snow, clambering about, and discovering the icy world beneath them.
While the mother bear with her two cubs had a happy ending, the same could not be said for the father. We were all beseiged by feelings of horror as the male polar bear swam furtively in the Northern waters looking for seals to eat. By the time he came across some walruses, he was too weak to hunt down the larger and much more formidable prey.
The movie also narrated how a herd of African elephants had to traverse vast distances in search of water to assuage their thirst. The warming of the planet contributed to the desertification of their home and weakened the largest land animals on Earth. Fortunately, most of them made it except for a weaker member of the group who succumbed to a pride of 30 starving lions and lionesses.
One can't help but admire the determination of wild beasts. Many were willing to swim, fly or walk thousands of miles in the search for food. They include a flock of birds which flew all the way above the highest peaks of the gargantuan Himalayan ranges, braving strong alpine winds to reach their land of milk and honey. Predators like the cheetah also had to run - and work - extremely hard to bring down their meals of fast running antelopes.
It was also endearing to see how cute little ducklings made the huge leap from their nest in their maiden attempts at flight, urged by their mother duck. The fear of heights obviously wasn't in their DNA!
Another prime example were the mother and child pair of Humpback whales which swam all the way from the Equator to the icy Antarctic oceans for their feast of krill. The mother whale kept close to her cub throughout the journey so that it doesn't succumb to attacks by predators like the Great White Shark (check out the amazing footage of the shark eating a seal below).
Other fabulous footages include a segment on the rich biodiversity of the tropics and how tropical rainforests covering just 3% of our planet's land area harbours more than 50% of all species here. The courtship dances of the male birds of Paradise were flirty, flamboyant and funny as you can see here.
Set to stunning and spectacular scenes of towering waterfalls, sprawling desert sand dunes, dramatic snow-peaked mountains and luxuriant equatorial jungles, Earth provided lots of natural eye-candy with an urgent tale to tell. If we as humans do not do something to save this beautiful home and its marvellous animal inhabitants, we will lose something that all the riches in the world cannot buy back.
One of the most dire messages in the movie was that Polar Bears may be extinct by 2030 (that's 20 years from now) if we do not change our planet warming habits. As we remember this Earth Day, let's all do our part for our dying planet and its wonderful beasts.