Film review: THE EARTH WINS, from Built For Speed

IMAX documentary, The Earth Wins is a less ambitious cousin to films like Koyaanisqatsi and Samsara. Like those films it’s composed of stunning images and music and has no dialogue or narration.  The film presents remarkable aerial shots (courtesy of aerial film specialists Helifilms) of some the most astonishing places on Earth including vast urban slums, African grasslands, the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the charred landscape of Marysville in the wake of the Black Saturday bushfires.

The Earth Wins is not as visually abstract as Koyaanisqatsi or Samsara as its images, while striking, are more conventional and feature little post-production manipulation such as slow motion or other effects.  This may be in part due to the fact that The Earth Wins had a much lower budget than those other documentaries.

The Earth Wins has a more direct environmental message than the “qatsi” films as many of the scenes depict environmental devastation and are often accompanied by on-screen text concerning our impact on the planet.  Unfortunately, the worthy intention of these messages is sometimes lost as the text tends toward cheesy new-age haikus that could have come straight off a greeting card.  Also, apart from logging on to The Earth Wins website, the film doesn’t offer any solutions or courses of action to address the environmental destruction shown.

The impact of the film’s message is greatly aided, however, by fine accompanying music from New Order, The Temper Trap, Yothu Yindi and The Who who’s masterpiece “Won’t get fooled again” thunders away over disturbing scenes of a flooded New Orleans.

At times The Earth Wins feels more like an advertisement for the title organisation rather than a complete piece of cinema but its best sequences contain some wondrous, powerful and moving images that demand to be seen in the IMAX format.


Nick’s rating: Three stars.

Classification: TBA.

Director(s): Jerry Grayson

Release date: 29th Aug 2013

Running time: 46 mins.


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