Welcome to Earth on Disney+, where Smith will discover a hidden world that few know about

We’ve seen big stars do nature shows before, often in one-off episodes where someone like Bear Grylls does most of the dangerous work. But in Welcome to Earth, one of the biggest stars on the planet, Will Smith, seeks to supplement his knowledge of the planet that he feels is lacking.

Opening scene: Will Smith looks straight into the camera in a black and white close-up. “I have a confession to make,” he said. “I have never swam in a lake, never climbed a mountain. I was in a cave once, and never slept in a tent. But I’m starting to think I might be missing something.”

Gist: In Welcome to Earth, hosted and produced by Smith with Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root, the actor/rapper explores places on earth that are lesser known, less seen. In these volumes, Smith explains how the natural world works in ways that humans are just beginning to understand, and presents others who explore those phenomena in different ways.

In the first episode, Smith climbs down Mount Yasour, an active volcano on Tanna Island in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, and he’s there with mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, who happens to be blind. The idea is not only to see the volcano erupt, but to be able to hear it, to feel sounds that humans cannot perceive with their ears. In other words, “The Silent Roar,” as the episode is titled.

Between scenes of Smith and Weihenmayer, Smith introduces us to other ways to explore sound, from a festival in Mexico where men pounded a fine powder that creates an explosion to Norway, where the The skater listens to the tape to see how thin it is. In Dolentic, a Nat Geo photographer goes to a place of absolute silence, 1200 feet above the ground, for an instrument to record what people cannot hear. In the mid-Atlantic, Dr. Diva Amon dives without the help of oxygen so she can hear whale calls.

In the second episode, Smith joins Dr. Amon on a submarine to go down to the ocean floor, more than 3300 feet below the surface. There, he sees the light disappear and finds aquatic creatures that only display color because humans like them produce white light. Other segments show how light can be found on Earth in ways humans don’t expect, from bioluminescence to animals with sporting colors they can see but humans can’t. Are not.

Welcome to Earth
Photo: Disney +

What shows will it remind you of? A zuzzhed up version of Our planet or planet earth, with a much more interesting narrator than David Attenborough (and quite entertaining David).

Our Take: After watching a few episodes of Welcome to Earth, we really wondered if Smith would find a new calling in his long and varied career. The man can rap and write hit songs. He can act and speak honestly about his marriage. But he’s also able to put on a natural show like no other, bringing a realistic quality to a genre we don’t often see with the largely aloof style we see most of the time. .

It might be because Smith is doing these extremes for the first time and isn’t even close to becoming an expert, so we’re surprised he shows up when experiencing these activities. Somehow, Will Smith becomes all of us in this scenario, and the jokes he makes to cover up his horror and amazement are just a more sophisticated version of the jokes. anxiety that we might be doing if we were in similar situations.

But Aronofsky and Root, aided by Brendan McGinty’s superb cinematography, also built each episode to mimic the sound and tempo of action blockbuster Will Smith. The great shots and tension scores add to Smith’s presence, whether it’s the scenes he’s in or just the scenes he’s telling. It all certainly puts the viewer in the frame of Smith and the filmmakers, and that sense of immersion is hard to achieve with nature shows.

Gender and Skin: Not available.

Farewell shot: As Smith describes the various episodes in the season, we’ll see some great footage from the upcoming episodes.

Sleeper Star: Each of the professionals who accompanied Smith did an incredible job, the most important of which was keeping Will Smith alive.

Most Pilot-y routes: Nothing we could find.

Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. Welcome to Earth found one of the biggest A-list stars to be humbled by what he sees, hears, and feels, and the fact that Will Smith went through these experiences himself is what makes the show such a bronze. Attractive lake.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and others.

Current Welcome to Earth On Disney +

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