Ossus Library Index Non-Fiction Movie Index


Directed by Marc Fafard (2002)
Narrated by George Marris

Sky-divers go to the extreme to find a euphoric rush of adrenaline.



1+ stars+

June 15th, 2003 on the OmniMAX dome


Decent in that it shows off what only an IMAX film can, but not very much more than that.

I had to laugh when the movie tried to get scientific. Huge triangular brain compounds high overhead, and some fancy sounding names do not make this a scientific or even an educational film. The movie is about creating a rush -specifically, from skydivers, of two sorts.

The first comes in the regular form, jumping out of an airplane. We go through several incarnations of these jumpers, from simply jumping and opening a parachute, to playing ball while falling, or actually flying with specially designed jumpsuits that have wings to produce lift. From these pictures, it's hard to believe that an average jump takes under a minute. These guys look like they could play an entire ball-game! The flying suits were neat, but it's hard to get very excited simply watching him fall. The diver did have some nice moves in the sky, though.

The second type of jumpers featured are those who jump off of high cliffs, sailing down into either the water or land below, braving dangerous precipices and jagged ledges that might stand in their way. I think these guys are just plain crazy! We get an IMAX-eye view of one such jump, but other than the nauseating jingle of the camera, it wasn't quite the rush they intended it to be.

My favorite part takes place near the very end, but even that was muted because of a lack of follow-up. Some university students and professors decided to create Leonardo DaVinci's parachute, a 9x9x9 yard, four-sided pyramid, that the master claimed would land a man safely no matter what height he jumped from. It was such a monstrous thing, that I really thought it would be unstable. However, it flew as a parachute, after being dropped in the stable morning air over Africa from a hot-air balloon. He cut it loose at the altitude where he could safely open his own chute, because this was a test flight. My complaint is that we didn't get to see Leonardo's words come true: he didn't land the thing. I would have liked to see a follow-up where somebody actually did land the parachute.

This movie should have been renamed Sky-Diving, because it doesn't deal with more than that, except for the adrenaline pumping of the first day at a new school for a young child. That part of the movie is so incongruous with the rest, and seemed just as out of place as the scientific explanations. The producers should have admitted the film to be less about science and just about the rush of jumping into thin air. Still, that did get repetitious quickly, so there obviously wasn't enough to hold an entire movie by itself. There was sky-diving in Wild California; like that film, they should have diversified a little more.


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