Julien Neaves, Editor
Premise: Superstar actor, rapper and film producer Will Smith teams up with various explorers to visit some of the most wondrous locations on Earth.
Review: Truth be told (and Imma tell it) with all the Sci Fi, horror, Caribbean and comic book content I don’t spend a lot of time watching documentaries (that’s more Alice’s bag). But I do enjoy a well-made docuseries, including a well-made nature doc. And that is definitely the case with Welcome to Earth, a six-part limited National Geographic series on Disney+. It stars Smith and is produced by visionary director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan). The name is taken from Smith’s famous line from the 1996 Sci Fi action flick Independence Day.
Smith makes for a great host/narrator. He is well known for his charm and wit but here it is mixed with him being completely out of his element on these remote and potentially dangerous locales. It is funny and relatable, and when he was tense I was concerned for his safety (though of course I knew he was going to be okay). It’s a National Geographic series so it was no surprise that the cinematography of the animals and environments are breathtaking and jaw-dropping. I found myself going “wow” multiple times.
And speaking of the environments, they are quite extreme and utterly fascinating. From the inside of a volcano to the depths of the ocean to the plains of the Serengeti to the frozen wasteland of a glacier each new episode brings with it new amazing sights and sounds. Another interesting aspect is the various explorers Smith teams up with, including blind explorer and mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, who joins the star in rappelling into an active volcano, and deep-sea biologist Dr Diva Amon from Trinidad.
As a Trinidadian myself I am always excited to see my fellow Trinis doing well internationally and Amon did very well here. Her narration is smooth and energetic and you can tell she really loves her work. She features in about three segments by herself and together with Smith in the episode “Descent into Darkness” where they travel to the bottom of the ocean in a submersible. She and Smith have great chemistry together and with the awe-inspiring wonders of the depth it is one of the more intriguing episodes of the limited series. I really think National Geographic should consider giving her a show herself because she is awesome.
The series was also quite informative as well. Did you know how wildebeest navigate in “swarms”? Or there is something called a “moonbow”? Or that there is a cave-dwelling animal that eats only once a decade? Or that the moon affects the land with something called “land tides”? Lots of fascinating stuff
So if you are fan of Smith and also enjoy outstanding nature documentaries then what more can I say but Welcome to Earth.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out of 10
And you can check out more great documentary content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.