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BMZ Review: Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets
By Ross Anthony

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Deep Rock
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: May 9, 2005
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

Over twenty years after its release I screened this large format classic at Universal Studios. What a delight. Chockfull of classic IMAX moments: aerial shots from a craft zipping above the river surface, nestled in the canyon itself, hammock-rocking back and forth. Beautiful and breathtaking in motion. These soaring scenes are placed well among the static shots.

And instead of simple slow pans of magnificent canyon walls (which I expected), the film follows its human subjects as they interact with the environment. First the Anasazi Indians circa 650 AD (for those conservatives among you, these Indians aren't wearing much clothing). Then a recreation of the 1450 Coronado Expedition led by Conquistador DeCardena and lastly Powell's 1869 explorations.

In the past, I've seen LF films fail at integrating human subjects -- they just look so staged. But Grand Canyon does a fine job of making their actors real. They come alive in the Canyon, and help bring the Canyon alive at the same time. The Indians run barefoot along dangerous cliff rocks and the explorers navigate thrilling white water rapids. Actors or not, the people you see on screen are riding those rapids. It's quite fun.

Newer films enjoy a slightly higher quality to film color and grain, but this picture still has a great deal to offer. The weakest link is the sleepy narration. It's easy to simply not listen to it as the visuals are so, well, grand.

I used to live in Arizona and I have twice paid the canyon a visit. Most people who make the trek to the rim, don't usually venture down into the Canyon itself. I didn't. We used to joke that seeing the canyon for the first time will blow you out of the water with awe -- for all of five minutes, then you're done. (Unless you have the time, inclination, resources and health to descend into it.) For those who have never gone deeper than the rim, this film is an excellent complement.

(Btw, this release enjoyed some upgrades from the original including a digitally remastered soundtrack and the insertion of a short playful cougar-hunting scene.)

Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (Large Format). Copyright © 1984.
Created by Keith Merill
Director of Photography, Reed Smoot.
Produced Produced by Keith Merill and O. Douglas Memmott at World Cinemax/Destination.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)



Copyright © 1998-2004. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: www.RossAnthony.com. For Adult & Teen Novels written by Ross Anthony visit: www.RossAnthony.com/books.

Movie Reviews by Ross Anthony

National Parks Adventure
Journey to Space
Wild Africa
Space Next
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Flight of the Butterflies
To The Arctic 3D
Tornado Alley
Born to Be Wild
Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World
Hubble 3D
Resident Evil: Afterlife: An IMAX 3D Experience
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The IMAX Experience
Shrek Forever After: An IMAX 3D Experience
Iron Man 2: The IMAX Experience
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Arabia 3D
Molecules to the MAX!
Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Kung Fu Panda: The IMAX Experience
Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience
Beowulf: An IMAX 3D Experience
Dinosaurs Alive! (3D/2D)
The Alps
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Lions 3D: Roar of the Kalahari
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Greece: Secrets of the Past
Roving Mars
Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Wild Safari 3D: A South African Adventure
Mystery of the Nile
Mystic India
Aliens of the Deep (3D)
Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets
Extreme
Rolling Stones at the Max
Sharks 3D
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience
Roar: Lions of the Kalahari
Forces of Nature
Adventures in Animation (3D)
NASCAR: The IMAX Experience (3D/2D)
The Young Black Stallion
To Fly!
Silent Sky
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea
Texas: The Big Picture
Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey
Ocean Wonderland (3D)
India: Kingdom of the Tiger
Straight Up!: Helicopters in Action
Coral Reef Adventure
Bugs! (3D/2D)
Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk
Ghosts of the Abyss (3D)
The Lion King (IMAX/Giant Screen/Large Format Edition)
Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees
Whales
Treasure Planet (IMAX/Giant Screen/Large Format Edition)
Star Wars Ep. II, Attack of the Clones: The IMAX Experience
Santa vs. the Snowman (3D/2D)
Alaska: Spirit of the Wild
Africa: The Serengeti
Horses: The Story of Equus
Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa
SkyDance
Australia: Land Beyond Time
Ultimate X
Space Station 3D
Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West
Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition
The Human Body
Blue Planet
China: The Panda Adventure
Ocean Oasis
Lost Worlds: Life in the Balance
Everest
Bears
Ocean Men: Extreme Dive
Majestic White Horses
Amazing Journeys
Chronos
Ski to the Max
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure
NSync: Bigger Than Live
Super Speedway
Journey into Amazing Caves
ALL ACCESS: Front row, Backstage, LIVE!
Haunted Castle 3D
T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (3D)
Wildfire: Feel the Heat
Encounter in the Third Dimension 3D
Galapagos
Fantasia/2000
Mysteries of Egypt
Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (3D)
Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (3D)
Michael Jordan to the Max
Cyberworld (3D)
Dolphins
Adventures in Wild California

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