Africa. The Serengeti.
Sound: Dolby Surround ( Digital and Analog tracks )
Playing Time: 40 minutes.
Classification: G ( all ages )
"There is a place on earth where it is still the morning of life and the great herds still run free" With these booming words from narrator James Earl Jones, we are thrown head first into the Africa planes known as the Serengeti. We follow the path of the wondering migrating Wildebeests as they head on their yearly journey. Along the way we meet many of the dangers and wonders that makes up the complex web of life that holds on so delicately .
Film in IMAX, this documentary only really scratches the surface of the Wildebeest migration. Being on 40 minutes long, the Laserdisc never gets into any real depth. But, it still is a ride well worth getting on.
We start our journey by discovering just how the Serengeti was formed. From the piles of ash and lava comes one of the greatest wonders of the world. The Serengeti planes of East Africa. We are introduced to some of the animals of this area. From cheetah to Lion, from Wildebeest to impala. There is even a small section on the human influence in the planes.
The camera work is wonderful. When I first sat down and watched it I found myself rewinding parts just so I can watch parts again. But the interest level on the Disc, fails after awhile. There just isn't enough depth for a documentary. Really, this disk is just a feast for the eyes and ears. It won't hold the attention of people wanting to learn a lot about the Serengeti. I don't see this as a major short coming, rather just an annoyance. Maybe if the producers had gone into more detail on the social structure of the wildebeest or even that of other animals on the planes, it may be a lot highly recommended as a real documentary. But, it comes off looking like a film simply aimed at showing what IMAX can do. ( IMAX I believe is a widescreen 70 mm format, used on screens 3 stories high! ) The Disc is not in letterbox format, rather it has been adjusted to fit the screen.
The music adds so much to the Disc. Although the music of Hans Zimmer is used, it has just been dragged up from "The Power of One". It fits the bill rather well, but maybe it would of been better just to get some original music. Not that I am complaining, rather I loved the way the music worked. But by dragging up music from other films, it just appears that the film was done on the cheap, or that they had used up all the money on the filming. The surround effects are effective and well staged. The thunder clap at the beginning is wonderful and really opens the documentary with a bang.
It has some interesting parts where the film centers on one animal. A small section on cheetahs, show a struggling mother trying to keep her last cub alive. A large Lion section gets into the details of how the lion family structure works. It has some wonderful footage of playful cubs. But again, nothing to take any real look at. Apart from looking good on the screen, it really does fail to keep your attention.
On the whole, this disc I will have to rate 3 paws out of 5. Simply because the documentary is lacking in depth and information. But on the other hand, it really is a wonderful eye and ear experience. It's the type of disc you play for friends to show off your sound system. If your after a basic disc on Africa, you can't go wrong with this, just don't expect to learn a lot.
3 paws out of 5.
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