Film: Earth Director: Alastair Fothergill/Mark Linfield Link: Disneynature If a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it still make a sound? That’s a question worth asking because most of us who live in urban areas are so out of touch with nature that we probably can’t even remember the last time we walked around in a secluded forest and took in all the beauty this world has to offer. But now with Disneynature’s gorgeous and jaw-dropping “Earth,” those of us who have spent all our lives in a cement jungle finally have the opportunity to witness up close and personal what makes our home planet so unique and riveting. Narrated by James Earl Jones and his distinctly soothing voice, “Earth” takes us on a journey all over the globe that follows a year in the life of three animal families — polar bears, elephants and humpback whales — and various other creatures that travel by land, sea or air. I am not the kind of person who usually wears their heart on their sleeve, but in this instance I will let in on a little secret about myself: Yours truly has a deep affection for anything with fur, fins or feathers. I could go on and on about why these critters hold a special place in my heart, but I think I would be doing us all a favor by just getting straight to the point: The No. 1 reason I am so head over heels about animals is they provide the perfect mixture of drama, suspense and comedy, and “Earth” does an impeccable job of showing all three of these aspects. The film has no shortage of lighter sides, that’s for sure, and I’m pretty confident you’ll find yourself with a big, toothy smile during footage of polar bear cubs on slippery slopes learning to walk for the first time, mandarin ducklings taking their first stab at flying (and failing miserably), colorful birds in the New Guinea rain forest showing off their amusing mating rituals and baboons cautiously wading through waist-high water. However, “Earth” also has its fair share of dark sides that deal with the inevitable circle-of-life, which include a wolf hunting a young caribou, a cheetah chasing after a gazelle, lions attacking elephants, a great white shark jumping out of the water with a seal in its mouth and a starving polar bear struggling to find food. But as tormenting as all of this sounds, the film definitely earns its G rating by avoiding disturbing and violent images for the most part and cutting away before the predators get their chance to deliver the coup de grâce. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield obviously took this route because their movie is aimed toward children, but for me it took away some of the impact that could have, and should have, been there. If any of what I have said over the previous couple of paragraphs sounds a little familiar, it’s probably because “Earth” is made by the same BBC Natural History Unit that produced the 11-part documentary series “Planet Earth” that is shown on the Discovery Channel. Since I am not a regular viewer of that show, I really can’t compare it to the movie, but I have heard from several people that both feature footage that is strikingly similar. Even so, the images that are captured by the filmmakers are so stunning and breathtaking that you would really be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t see them up on the big screen. As a matter of fact, some of the aerial shots of waterfalls, oceans and vast deserts and forests are so unbelievably awe-inspiring that you’ll most likely go nuts trying to figure how the cameramen were able to pull it off. (If you do end up racking your brain over this, make sure to stick around for the closing credits that feature some behind-the-scene footage. Trust me, it’s well worth the wait.) But what surprised me the most about “Earth” is that it doesn’t go overboard on making its audience feel guilty about global warming and the effects of climate change. Sure, it is mentioned a couple of times throughout the 90-minute film, but it never seems like it is wagging its finger at you like former vice president Al Gore did with 2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Look, in no way am I trying to discredit Gore for everything he has done to help bring this issue to the forefront, but I know I don’t speak alone when I say there’s only so much you can take of his monotone voice talking over charts and graphs before getting exceedingly bored. And bored is a word you will never hear yourself uttering when you walk out of the theater after seeing the astounding “Earth.” Rating: 9/10