This time I'm going to be a critic while everyone else is shouting kudos for this project.

In my opinion, the folks at Disneynature Films bit off more than they could chew in this G-rated live-action movie released in 2007, but enjoying a new release in April, 2009.

We range from the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa to the Himalayan Mountains in Central Asia, we leap back and forth from the Arctic to the Antarctic, we s-l-o-w-l-y pan over scenes of great northern forests and tropical rain forests. We see LOTS of time-lapse photography with entire seasons encapsulated in less than a minute: little green sprouts spring from the earth, bud and bloom, and rain clouds skitter across the sky. We follow a 3,000 mile migration by a mother humpback whale and her baby; polar bear cubs make their first foray out of the den where they were born; millions of birds take off in one gigantic frenzied flock (why are there no mid-air collisions?); there are wonderful aerial shots of migrations of caribou, elephants, and geese. Any one of the topics listed in this paragraph would have been perfect for its own feature-length film.

We see predators make their kills: a wolf pulls down a game little caribou calf, a cheetah only catches a frantic baby antelope because it loses its footing, a killer whale does a HUGE slow motion capture of a seal, but all of these scenes stop just before the blood spurts. Whew!

All of this activity is accompanied by the most inconsequential music I have had the displeasure to endure. Not one note of the score added a thing to our experience! And there WERE opportunities: the first flights of a darling clutch of baby Mandarin ducks; the polar bear cubs trying to manage a steep icy slope; the courting dance of a peacock; the string of exhausted elephants, each of which bumps into the one in front when the leader suddenly comes to a standstill; a line of baboons gingerly picking its way through a flooded area. Any one of these could have been great fun but I only heard an isolated giggle or two from the audience.

There were misleading scenes made more so by their juxtaposition. For example, we admire a shot of a huge waterfall while our narrator, James Earl Jones, tells us that climate change is causing a water shortage. This is immediately followed by a shot of the Sahara in which the lines of the horizon are very much like the ones behind the waterfall. This would make you think you were seeing a before and after shot of the same place. The narrative does NOT say that, but I found this subliminal message creepy, just the same.

All this being said, the 8- to 10-year-old boy and girl in the row in front of me were engrossed, particularly during those life and death struggles as they waited for the blood to spurt; the smaller tots were bored stiff. Does the word "Disney" make parents think ALL ages will be enthralled? Aarghhh!