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BMZ Review: Greece: Secrets of the Past
By Ross Anthony

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©MacGillivray Freeman Films

First to Celebrate the Independent Mind
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: April 17, 2006
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

Greece is a rather uneven piece. At times, the images are beautiful and plot lines quite intriguing. But, the film also suffers dry spots and lacks a commanding uniting thread.

Opening credits host a cutesy angel, somewhat unbecoming of such a big film. But quickly enough, filmmakers bring to the screen a submerged statue and crane it up to the surface. Shot from inside the sea and underneath, we watch the classical statue make its way into the sun. It's an absolutely beautifully surreal image.

The film discusses the sea-going prowess of Greeks. This segment drags until the cameras once again take to the air and hover around ruins. But some ruins just aren't very durable on IMAX time. Fortunately, the airborne cinematographers capture Santorini Island. The island is gorgeous and the IMAX screen is probably the best way to see it, save for flying there yourself. White walls, homesteads one atop the other, crowding the hillsides like families. Beautiful. A ring of land around an island. A volcano, a buried city. Could this be Atlantis? An intriguing question.

Excavations find pottery and paintings. "Piecing together the paintings is like making a new friend," one of the archelogists states. These findings bring to life mysteries held from the Bronze Age.

The Lava preserved the houses, but where are the people? Filmmakers take great pains to recreate the Volcano, perhaps in hopes of giving the film a bit of a major jolt. The sound of which is simply awesome, thunderous, but the imaging is only just okay. But at least it explains the anatomy of a volcanic eruption.

Interestingly enough, scientists were able to use samples found in an Icelandic glacier to date the year of the volcano -- 1642 BC. That's pretty cool.

The shots of the Parthenon are also just okay. The ruin is full of machinery and ugly cranes. However, the computer imaging used to show what the Parthenon looked like in all its pre-ruin glory is, in fact, pretty glorious. The camera appears to float in through the columns to a huge statue of Athena that once stood there. Her helmet is magnificent. The addition of live-action (real people) into this shot top it off very nicely as another sweetly surreal image. I enjoyed it immensely.

Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame narrates nicely. Also, this would be a good film to inspire young people (or old) into the fields of archeology or anthropology. But for me, I expected more of the big beautiful stuff and just a bigger punch on the whole.

Greece: Secrets of the Past. Copyright © 2006.
Directed by Greg MacGillivray.
Produced by Greg MacGillivray at MacGillivray Freeman.

Grade..........................B (2/4)



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.

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