An Astronaut's Window Seat View
Blue Planet
Review by Ross Anthony

Follow the terrain, the aging lines of the earth, under the surface of the ocean, across the fault lines of the Pacific coast, in and out of the massive craters left from prehistoric asteroids. "Blue Planet" runs its fingers across the rugged complexion of Earth.

From desserts to forests, the textures of our land can be seen from space. Then, almost as a finale of irony, we see our nighttime profile -- the populated cities of the world light up like stars at midnight.

At the age of adolescence, we (as human individuals) become very curious of ourselves, we peer into mirrors studying our features, our eyes, our face, our bodies. It's a fascinating time of discovery, perhaps humankind (as a species of the planet) has reached this stage of development. In our zeal to explore cosmos we've turned our technological probes towards ourselves and invented the first planet-size mirror.

"Blue Planet" views Mother Earth from the perspective of the astronauts. With the shuttle cargo bay empty and open providing foreground perspective - we feel free in space. This angle serves as a repeated theme, a host for other more earthbound angles. An astronaut comments, "That thin blue line of atmosphere -- that's the only thing that protects us from the inhospitable coldness of space."

Closer to the surface we watch a storm in the distance rumble and flash with lightening as it approaches. Gentle and unrushed by quick cuts and impatient viewers (or producers), the storm finds its way to us filling the rear theater speakers with rain, engulfing us.

This film endeavors to (and succeeds in) presenting the Earth as a whole, as a home, as a living organism. For that reason no topic is covered in great detail, but instead, in great reverence and beauty. Though a tad heavy handed with the environmental message at the end, the picture is still lovely, educational and well worth bringing the kids with you.

In the words of a Bette Midler song, "From a distance, there is harmony, And it echoes through the land, It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace, It's the voice of every man."

  • Blue Planet. Copyright © 2001.
  • Directed by Ben Burtt.
  • Cinematographer: David Douglas (and the astronauts).
  • Written by Toni Myers.
  • Produced by Graeme Ferguson at IMAX Space.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:19 PDT