Sacred Planet is an amazing look at this awesome place we call Mother Earth. We seem to see the many facets that earth has to offer, including hustling and bustling towns as well as those places in ancient lands that seem unchanged by time. Yet, even though the people we may be examining may not be as “up to date” as us, they seem to live richer lives because of it. Technology hasn’t gotten in the way of their emotions. It hasn’t allowed them to have casual conversations like we do with our cellphones,Blackberrys and instant messenger applications. These people live in a world where communication isn’t a way of life, it is life.
The movie looks awesome. I also love how it didn’t just show us sweeping vistas and beautifully composed shots. It also went below ground and showed us the wondrous sea. All the while set to majestic music that really served it’s purpose in creating a sense of tone and mood. I mean, I saw things in the sea that I not only don’t know the name of, but that I would be hard pressed to describe. While watching this I also wondered how they were able to get such amazing footage when they were filming what was essentially a big budget documentary. In fact, it hit me while watching this movie that these types of IMAX-like documentary’s, are the Bruckheimer version of this medium.
I really enjoyed this film. I am fan of Robert Redford’s inflection, even if I am not always that a big a fan of him. I feel I learned something and I was very much reminded of the 1983 film
Koyaanisqatsi. Sacred Planet had more of an easy to follow narrative, but I think the overall “environmental” theme was still the same. I think that this is the kind of movie that can be watched in a family setting or even in the classroom and people will get a great deal out of it. So much of this movie is mood, mixed with a voice indigenous to the images that are on the screen.
Sacred Planet is a great jumping off point for people who are interested in learning about other cultures as well as places and animals around the world.
The Making of Sacred Planet
This is a cool featurette where we are brought into the making of this movie. Director Jon Long and others talk to us about composing the shots, why they wanted to make this movie and what went into getting it on the big screen. All in all this looks like a lot of work, and in some ways the filmmakers seem detached from the whole process. What I mean by this, is that the way the movie is shot, there are a lot of technical angles and things that have to be taken into consideration. Many times, it seems like the filmmaker and the person actually shooting the film would be standing looking at a monitor while the camera shoots from a crane many feet up in the air with nobody looking in the viewfinder.
Feature Audio Commentary with the Director
This is pretty typical of what you have come to expect from commentaries. The director talks about the shots, how they were composed(technical specifics too!), why he wanted to make the film, etc. Not that this is bad, it’s just it’s a commentary over documentary so in a sense it becomes a heightened piece of documentary. We get to see something being captured on film and then we hear the directors take or motivation for why it was done that way. It interesting, I just didn’t find this commentary to be anything that I hadn’t heard before.
”Our Sacred Planet: Unseen Moments in Time” Music Video - With Never Before seen Footage
This is a beautifully shot “music video”. It is filled with amazing shots all set to majestic sounding music. This is actually broken up into other pieces of footage with different types of music laid over them. I thought that any of these could have been a great opening sequence for the actual Sacred Planet movie itself. An interesting addition to an already interesting DVD.
There are two versions of this film. Widescreen (1.85:1) and Full Screen (1.33:1) with the Widescreen version enhanced for 16x9 televisions. I think that this is a good thing too because I find that younger people tend to like things in full frame, while most adults seem to go towards Widescreen. Although, my father falls into the full screen camp. This movie looks amazing. It was shot in such a lush style, with images that are beyond rich that I actually expected Sacred Planet to look as good as it did. It had a style and sense of itself(and an assured director at the helm) that seemed to go hand in hand with the subject matter. A film like this doesn’t really take a stand or make any statements, rather it just presents the images and ideas as something that people will gain something by seeing.
DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Again, good solid sound was something I expected this movie to have. I wasn’t disappointed. There are moments where you would just watch the camera move over a mountain, soft music would be playing and it seemed like the images and sound were meant to be that way. Everything sounded that way. There wasn’t a piece of music combined with an image that seemed out place. Sound in a “documentary” like this is of the utmost importance, because a movie of this nature is so reliant on it. As this isn’t a traditional narrative, the sound and image quality are placed even more in the forefront then on a regular movie. In Sacred Planet, the sound is perfect.
A nice piece of packaging here. We see the world in a pair of hands that are coming out of sand. A collage of pictures from different places in the world, make up the world on the front cover of this disk. The back features more majestic shots from the movie, with a nice description of the movie as well as technical specs and special features listings. The packaging is simple and really has a “National Geographic” feel. My only fear is that the cover might look too educational, and as a result might scare off prospective viewers who don’t necessarily want such an experience. The thing is, once they start watching Sacred Planet they will realize it’s not that kind of film.
I knew that I was going to enjoy this movie. I knew that it would work for me, mainly because movies like Sacred Planet are inherently interesting. They deal with subject matter that is timeless. They also present it in such a way that you cannot stop yourself from watching it. It looks great, the various voices presenting the information are interesting and overall this picture holds your attention by it’s very faith in what is being covered. I loved the look of the film, I feel I learned something and more importantly, I think it opened up my mind a little more to the possibilities of what can be done with this amazing looking medium.
A few people have been upset that I didn’t like The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Well, had it been presented to me like Sacred Planet and not as an actual film with a story, I think I would have liked it a lot more. Sacred Planet at a 47 minute run time plays very smooth, very tight and overall much better then that “Parrot Movie”.
Sacred Planet was released April 12, 2004.