DVD captures beauty of 'Earth'

August 30, 2009 

“Earth” Grade B: James Earl Jones narrates this story of three animal families and their journeys across the planet. “Earth” is full of stunning visual moments. It truly is a reminder of the power and beauty that exists on this big blue marble.

But these images are plentiful these days. It is very hard to recommend paying for a ticket just to see the footage on a large screen — when it is available in so many forms for free.

Also note that Jones is narrating the stories of an assortment of creatures whose tales are told in arcs from birth to, in some cases, death. There is a heavy educational element. But be prepared to get into conversations with young moviegoers about the brutal aspects of the circle of life.

t “Meteor” Grade B-: The NBC miniseries is a throwback to 1950s disaster movies in which government officials aren’t smart enough to open an umbrella in a rainstorm. The chaos they face comes from a gigantic meteor heading toward Earth that is big enough to end all life.

Although the world is full of scientists, only the spunky Imogene O’Neul (Marla Sokoloff) can save the day. All she has to do first is survive multiple car wrecks, imprisonment by escaped convicts, a near rape, desert heat and several different attempts on her life.

Sokoloff gives it her best shot. It’s just the script that slows her down.

Stacy Keach and Billy Campbell provide fairly decent performances, and the special effects are above average. This is not a great miniseries, but it sure beats watching reruns.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at rbentley@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

Also coming to DVD Tuesday:

“Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fifth Season”: You can get caught up with the antics on Wisteria Lane.

“Rescue Me: Season 5, Volume One”: Denis Leary stars in this top-notch cable drama about life in a New York fire station.

“Two and a Half Men: The Complete Sixth Season”: Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer play mismatched brothers.

“Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season”: Jared Padalecki keeps tracking the odd and unusual.

“Heroes: Season 3”: Hayden Panettiere and Masi Oka star in the NBC series.

“Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares: Complete Series 2”: Chef Gordon Ramsay tries to help troubled restaurants.

“Sin Nombre”: A teenager from Honduras makes the dangerous trip through Mexico to get to the United States.

“State of Play”: Russell Crowe stars in this political thriller about the search for truth behind a murder.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — Ninth Season”: The set includes the departure of William Petersen.

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