Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Movie Review #249: "Planetary" (2015)

Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Guy Reid
Rating: R
Running Time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Image Source
Astronauts, scientists, spiritualists and artists discuss our planet, our universe, and how we are all interconnected. As well as the collective decisions made by the human race that has lead to terrible environmental future as well as the mass extinction of species.  

This movie opens with an astronaut who works on the International Space Station talking about the first time he went into space and saw the Earth from orbit. It was then he had an epiphany about humans and all of life on Earth and how connected we truly are. "Planetary" takes a provocative look at our modern lifestyles and how our extreme ideas of individuality and our great technological advances like the internet, cell phones and social media have actually driven us farther apart than closer together. The documentary certainly has a message as it wants to raise awareness of both climate change and the effects humans have on this planet, and though it never really comes out and blames anyone specifically for what has been done to this planet of ours, it's hard to deny our major part in it all. The tone of this movie is very much pacifistic in nature, and unlike many films, "Planetary" doesn't hit the audience with a lot of number crunching and data about rising average temperatures or the amount of CO2 being dumped into the atmosphere. It does mention these things, but doesn't talk about the numbers or get bogged down in statistics. Instead, it appeals to our emotions, letting people hear stories about our planet and our universe, how each of us are part of the world as a collective and how we are an ecosystem unto ourselves. All the bacteria and microorganisms in and on our bodies have a great effect on our health, and we couldn't exist without them, showing our symbiotic relationship with nature. Much like us, the earth is a living, breathing, thriving organism and much like the bacteria on our bodies, we must exist in a symbiotic relationship with our host. In a Q&A with someone who knew one of the astronauts involved in this film, Francis from the San Diego Air and Space Museum, he exclaimed after an audience question that it would be very arrogant of us to have the belief that this entire vast universe was created solely for the use and entertainment of a single species on a single tiny planet in the corner of one of millions of galaxies. If you are ever feeling a little arrogant yourself and want to be humbled, check out the Hubble deep field photo video below and realize just how small we actually are in the grand scheme of the universe.
There is also a very relaxing feel to this film and it serves as an almost meditative calm in its presentation. This zen-like, tranquil music runs in the background throughout its entire run time and we are often presented with many beautiful, awe-inspiring images of nature, which can be a little to the film's detriment as watching it can send you into such a relaxed state that, in the right setting, could easily put you to sleep, not because it's boring, but because this is the feeling we think the filmmakers were going for. Instead of blaming and shaming what we have done in the past, this film urges us to be part of both the future and nature once again, to get back to our roots and to take all of our beautiful, breathtaking, loving planet in, and not to hurt it, but to hold it and nurture it back the way it has nurtured us for so long. The overall serene nature of much of the movie was not lost on us and we left feeling much more in-tune with our sense of self and our place in the world, however small or large it may be. There is definitely an agenda behind this film, but it is one that aligns with both BigJ and I as people of this planet, so we didn't mind it, but others may have a problem with is pacifistic nature. There is a lot of talking throughout the movie, too. Through the explanation of the many life experiences of religious figures, important tribal leaders, artists, scientists and teachers, there is a lot of information to digest, and though it is mostly all emotional, experiential or anecdotal, "Planetary" is still an important documentary and one we urge everyone to see if you get a chance.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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