Ossus Library Index Non-Fiction Movie Index

GOLD FEVER

Directed by David Lichley (1999, SK Films)
Narrated by Mark Strange

A description of the value of gold through several of the most gold-rich places in the world.

 

 

C++

June 29th, 2001, on the OmniMAX dome

 
    An interesting topic which is covered in a less than interesting manner, with people who are not very interesting themselves.  Still, it hints at deeper things, which is why I kept the rating fairly high.

I must admit that I do not understand the obsession with gold.  It is a symbol of status, but I do not know or understand why.  And this movie did nothing to help me understand it.  It would have been nice if they had speculated on the origins of gold fever.  I have trouble believing it is simply because of the flashy color -if that was the case, then even glass could have been precious (but I guess it is, in the shape of diamonds).  Anyway, the lack of explanation didn't hurt the film.

What hurt the film a bit was the lack of presentation.  It was standard documentary fare, not really worth the IMAX screen.  There were a few moments that put the dome to good use, such as the helicopter ride over the Yukon and the trip down into the mine shaft, or the giant crowds in India, but for the most part, this film could have been served just as good on a smaller screen.  

The narrator also didn't help matters.  He was not very interesting.  Neither was the gold hunter in the Yukon.  Surely they could have found a more interesting person to follow?  The king in that small country (can't remember it's name) in Africa seemed like he had stories to tell, but he was dying, and seemed barely capable of more then moaning.  The Yukon gold rush prospectors are long dead, but perhaps a more interpretive dialog would have been better for this film.

Still, the film had many things going for it.  It spent most of its time in the Yukon, with great landscapes.  The grizzly bear footage was weird, but the scenes inside a small old gold mine were neat.  The size of the machinery was impressive in the Ontario (I believe) gold mine, kilometers below ground.  In India, where we spent the least amount of time, the festival was interesting, though short.  And I enjoyed the chanting during the festival of the king in that small African country.  

And the story of gold is interesting in itself.  I really enjoyed the sorting of gold from the other minerals, melting it down, and creating the gold bars or jewelry.

Many people might find this film quite slow, but I enjoyed it.  There was enough to keep me interested throughout, so that, as a documentary, it succeeded.

 
   

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