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BMZ Review: Coral Reef Adventure
By Herb Lash


BMZ Review of Coral Reef Adventure
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: March 2003


Category: Reviews

The Giant Screen has had a long love affair with outer space and undersea locations - only an IMAX camera has the power to make land lubbers float like an astronaut or swim like Cousteau. CORAL REEF ADVENTURE has a great deal of fun submerging the audience and delivering some truly stunning images. But the fun comes with a heavy dose of reality - a good many of the world's coral reefs are in danger. Like canaries in a mineshaft, our coral reefs are indicators of things to come. Protected and healthy sections of Australia's Great Barrier Reef are a wonderland of color, variety and vitality.  Also stunning are some of the reefs in Fiji - but for all the wrong reasons. Warm El Nino waters, over fishing and silty island run off have transformed  these once thriving reefs to an ashy, dead wasteland. Statistics and scientific research can always tell the story  - but sometimes the best way to get a message across is with a punch in the gut. CORAL REEF ADVENTURE is a heavyweight film that fights a good fight on behalf of the world's endangered reefs - and it lets the pictures do the punching.

The best in the business computer animated maps, toe tapping Crosby Stills and Nash songs, likable/adventurous scientists, a dash of danger and plenty of local flavor; the MacGillivray Freeman formula is in full crowd pleasing effect. The film follows divers/filmmakers Howard and Michelle Hall as they visit the reefs in the waters of Australia, Fiji and Tahiti. Fijian scientist Rusi Vulakoro enlists the duo's help in determining what exactly is harming the precious reefs off his island home. Not surprisingly, the healthy reefs deliver the most spectacular scenes. CSN's "Our House" plays while a shrimp and a Gobe fish perform a symbiotic boogie, a Giant Clam slams shut and a swarming school of gray reef sharks take your breath away - all of this precious life depends on a thriving reef eco-system.

There is a scene in the film that depicts our team of divers fighting against and then swimming with a powerful reef current. It is difficult to describe the beauty of these fleeting undersea moments - the audience is taken along for a  wispy, fast and floating ride over a reef-scape that exists in precious few places in the world. CORAL REEF ADVENTURE does more than just spread the conservationist message - it is also an act of preservation. These incomparable Large Format images might one day be the best living record of how ocean reefs are supposed to look.

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