Apple TV+ film review: The Year Earth Changed
Ivan Radford | On 17, Apr 2021
Director: Tom Beard
Cast: David Attenborough
Where to watch The Year Earth Changed online in the UK: Apple TV+
Humans and nature have coexisted on planet Earth for donkey’s years, peacefully and harmoniously. But what if humans were actually doing more damage than we thought to the environment? That’s the message at the heart of The Year Earth Changed, a documentary that brings into sharp relief the unforeseen indirect consequences of an unexpected global pandemic.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, life as we know it has ground to a halt, with lockdowns minimising social interactions and reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread. The impact on human life has been devastating, from the countless loss of loved ones to the emotional, psychological and physical toll left on others. The Year Earth Changed acknowledges that horrific fallout, while respectfully shifting focus to the natural world, which has surprisingly flourished in the reduced presence of humanity.
David Attenborough narrates the hour-long film, bringing his usual passion and insight to the screen. But, like his documentary A Life on Our Planet, The Year Earth Changed carries a more personal note, as he contemplates the impact of human behaviour upon the world – something that he has unconsciously, inextricably been a part of. Footage of birdsong resounding through deserted cities may not surprise, but director Tom Beard goes further in collating evidence from around the world, from penguins in Cape Town to, most moving of all, lion cubs whose cries for their mother would normally be drowned out by vehicles.
The result is an accessible and gentle watch that, despite some dark moments, proves an educational reminder on the need to think more about what we mean by “sustainability” and how we interact with the world around us post-pandemic.
The Year Earth Changed is available on Apple TV+, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, with a seven-day free trial. For more information on Apple TV+ and how to get it, click here.