An interesting and well-made presentation of India and the tiger, and
especially its foremost naturalist.
The best thing that I can say about
this movie is that it was well made. Very well made. It didn't have all the
special effects of Dolphins, for example, but it didn't need them, either. The
story went seamlessly between its elements, garnering interest along the way.
The movie was a documentary, but it also told a story. In telling us about Jim
Corbett, who is portrayed as one of the narrators, we are also introduced to
the wonders of India, and the habitat of the tiger.
Jim Corbett was once a
famous tiger hunter. But even after he is called in to kill a man-eating tiger
in an Indian village near where he grew up, he starts to feel compassion for the creatures. He knows
what it is like to hunt and to be hunted. And he eventually starts hunting
tigers with a camera instead of a gun.
We see tigers in their natural
habitat, hunting and playing. Sometimes, we see them at the zoo, though they
are not identified as being there. They truly are beautiful, from their full
faces to their long lanky bodies and scruffy tails. The eyes possess an
intelligence that indicates their skill as hunters. And the young ones are just
so cute! I saw a lot of my cat in them -but his paws will never be as large as
the ones on those giants.
India also gets showcased, from the Taj Mahal
and religious prayer to bustling modern downtown, which, as always, starts to
encroach on the tiger's habitat. And at this point, the movie just barely
avoided being preachy. Actually, it was preachy, but only mildly so, and was
The narrator was obviously from India. He did an amazing job
at narrating the movie, both when Jim Corbett was hunting, and when he was
describing his homeland.
The countryside was beautiful in itself, and the
film-makers took full advantage of the IMAX screen in presenting it. I loved
the natural steps on which the farmers harvest, and the giant mountains in the
distance. The music showed a lot of the native culture, and was also very
beautiful and mesmerizing.
The tiger was also presented in full IMAX force. The teaser for
this film has the tiger jumping straight at the audience, and the actual movie
doesn't fail to deliver this type of stance several times. I hope the camera
was being remotely operated, or had a giant zoom lens on at the time of that
shot! I wouldn't want to get in the way of a 500 pound tiger!
The true joy in
this film is learning about India, the tiger and the conversion of a hunter
into a naturalist photographer, all at the same time. Cutting back and forth
among the different topics, showing us a little about Corbett's youth, and the
encroaching cities, the nature of the tiger, the hunting (using elephants!)
that devastated the tiger population, and so on, against the backdrop of
the hunt for the man-eating tiger 80 years ago was definitely the best way to
come at this topic. If I get a chance, I'll go and see this movie again in the