Docurama // 2012 // 104 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // July 6th, 2013
People in every country were asked to document the world around them in one day. Thousands of people participated.
Don't you wish you could see the big picture, everything that's going on around you? That may impossible, but director Kyle Ruddick hoped audiences might just see the largest picture ever with his One Day on Earth project.
The one day in question was 10 October 2010 (10-10-10). Cameras -- many distributed through the United Nations -- were put in place around the world, while Ruddick organized everything online. He even went into space, using footage from the International Space Station. The plan yielded nearly 3,000 hours of footage from people living out their day. The big challenge was editing it together.
One Day on Earth starts out in the form of the universe itself, on display as part of a lecture. From there, we see the birth of a baby in the United Kingdom, a parade in North Korea, people flying kites, playing football, gathering water to quench their thirst, and much more.
The film is organized thematically, focusing on aspects of life such as weddings, nature, food, and garbage. You never thought about garbage on a global scale, did you? Most of these viewpoints are brief (mere seconds), but some stories -- a man on methadone, rescuing animals in Cambodia, reflections on time -- get a bit more focus. In the end, all of it is slickly edited, set to a mix of ambient noise and inspiring music.
Some might complain Ruddick did his job too well. To enjoy life, we need the freedom to deviate from the plan, to feel true randomness. Seeing a day play out with thorough planning takes a little away from the experience, though there is a woman waiting for her husband to return from military service who complained it was delayed past 10-10-10. Most of what's on displey is family friendly, though you might not want small kids to see schoolgirls in Ethiopia discussing periods.
Presented in standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the visual quality is surprisingly consistent, given the wide range of source material being used. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track paints an auditory smorgasbord of life around the world, teasing us with just enough to want more.
Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes look at the project, a music video from DJ Cut Chemist, a look at the making of a video that played out within the documentary, a guide to the project's web site, a trailer for the film, and (oddly) a trailer previewing the actual day.
The mission of One Day on Earth is an intriguing one, and well-executed. You may wish for a non-cinematic random moment, but what's here is fascinating.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated