||Beautiful scenery, beautiful and humorous
looks at animals, but with some jittery camera work.
It's amazing how far IMAX films have come.
I vaguely remember this film from its original release, back when there
weren't too many big screen films. Compared to current films, this one
is lacking a little something.
However, it is still a wonderful movie,
showing off African scenery the way only an IMAX film can. They really
can't go wrong, with James Earl Jones as a narrator. Coming right on the
heels of The Lion King, the producers took full advantage of the Circle
of Life and the various animals from that film.
We see a real wildebeest stampede, a
real lion attack, and the real hyenas' laugh. All of it is really
marvelous. The wildebeest may be a funny-looking animal -put together
from spare parts- and it may be the staple and heartbeat of the
Serengeti, but it is not the most interesting creature.
More interesting were the lion hunts.
Wow, those cats can fly! The scenes where they were not hunting were
pretty hilarious, as they play or relax, flipped on their backs in a way
my cat can only just imitate. To see it on those giants was not just
cute, but really funny. Another hunter, the cheetah was amazing to
watch, as she quickly grabbed a small animal for her cub.
The elephants and giraffes were
beautiful to see, as they mightily (or in the case of the giraffes
-nimbly) walked across the land. The most hilarious look came at the
hippo, which gets to live in its own salad bowl! I swear that looked
like a really bad toupee!
Watching the wildebeest migrating, I
was amazed at how much they were real meals on the run. The lionesses
lay right in the path of the herd, which was visibly nervous, but didn't
even attempt to change their direction. I suppose instinct tells them that
more than ninety nine percent will get through a single hunt! The
alligators also had their pick, when the wildebeests crossed the river.
It was sad in the way nature runs its circle of life from the deaths of
others, especially the ones that survived the predators, but died from
the river current and the crowding. Even then, though, the hyenas and vultures
(wow, are those guys ugly!) will not let a morsel of meat go to waste.
A lot of this film was covered in
Africa's Elephant Kingdom and
Amazing Migrations, but this one forms a
much more complete picture. I cannot even imagine the size of a volcanic
caldera so huge it would have its own microclimate within. As we follow
the migration of the wildebeests, we come full circle, from times of
plenty to drought and back again.
The beauty of the land and the animals
(okay, some of them, anyway) was very nicely depicted in this film. The
IMAX screen was put to very good use. The music accented the film
wonderfully, also being reminiscent of
The Lion King and the Rhythm of
the Pridelands (inspired by the movie) soundtracks. I liked the way the
native Maasai also migrate, and loved to hear their chants and music.
It's also nice to see how tourism brings money to the land, allowing the
people who live there to see that it must be protected because it has
value all in itself.
For some of us, movies like this are
the only way we will get there.