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BMZ Review: Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (3D)
By Ann Coates

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Teva Team kayaker Anthony Yap. Copyright Chris Rainier.

Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: March 17, 2008

     

Category: Reviews

Following a river-rafting trip down the Colorado River, Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk conveys the message of water conservation using the backdrop of the the iconic Grand Canyon.  The first 3D film from MacGillivray Freeman Films, Grand Canyon explores the many ways humanity has changed the face of the Colorado -- mostly for the worse -- and our responsibility to engender changes for the better.

The film features anthropologist/explorer Wade Davis -- who amazingly enough, was the inspiration for the Indiana Jones character -- and his daughter, Tara Davis.  Also featured journeying down the Colorado is environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his daughter, Kick Kennedy.  A total of 44 adventurers make up the river rafting group, including a team of champion kayakers acting as scouts and safety guides.  This entire crew is led by Shana Watahomigie whose tribe, the Havasupai, have been living within the canyon for the past 800 years.

Although shot in 3D, much of the film's visuals would be sufficient without this feature.  Shots of the canyon vistas and aerial photography render the 3D extraneous.  The expanse and depth of the Grand Canyon would be apparent regardless, but some incredible shots are achieved.  At the edge of the cliff, Davis has set up his tripod, and only as the camera pans out to reveal the extent of the Canyon, do we realize the precarious position he is in.  Many vertigo-inducing shots pepper the film, and we spend much of our time above the Canyon looking below.

The 3D does work well, however, when on the river itself.  With the camera positioned as a rafter, the viewer gets a first-hand account of being in the rapids.  The film makes good use of 3D as water engulfs the screen, and the audience is bopped up and down the river, sometimes violently so.  The rafting trip contains much of the film's excitement, and provides the necessary jolt to the otherwise languid aerial photography of the Canyon.

The story of Grand Canyon Adventure, like most Giant Screen films, is probably the least interesting aspect of the film.  Although, the film provides the sense of urgency for water conservation -- an image of Lake Powell half-empty or how Africa's Lake Chad has virtually disappeared -- the message is more interesting than those who tell it.  The story meanders along without a real center or focus, the audience doesn't really get a sense of purpose for this river-rafting trip.

Robert Redford minimally narrates the film, much of the voiceover is done by those in the river-rafting journey.  A soundtrack provided by Dave Matthews Band nicely complements the film, although the sound mix has pushed the music way up high to an almost distracting effect.  Despite these small snags, Grand Canyon is an adequate film, exposing the desperate water conditions our planet faces.  Providing just enough excitement to entertain, the film also is able to shed new and necessary insight into the protection of our fragile resources.

Movie Reviews by Ann Coates

Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters
A Beautiful Planet
Asteroid: Mission Extreme
National Parks Adventure
Wild Africa
Living in the Age of Airplanes
Journey to Space
Humpback Whales 3D
Robots 3D
Antarctica: On The Edge
The Great Apes 3D
Dark Universe
Tiny Giants 3D
Antarctica's Penguin Emperors 3D
Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D
Penguins 3D
Space Junk 3D
Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea
Flying Monsters 3D
Rescue (3D)
Cosmic Journey: Through Hubble and Cassini
Born to Be Wild
My Dream 3D
The Little Prince
Tornado Alley
Waking the T. Rex: The Story of Sue 3D
Magic Journey to Africa (3D)
Furusato: World Heritage Sites Viewed from Space
Legends of Flight 3D
Inception: The IMAX Experience
Arabia 3D
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Molecules to the MAX!
Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience
Under the Sea 3D
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Animalopolis
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (3D)
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs Alive! (3D/2D)
The Alps
Hurricane on the Bayou
Ride Around the World
Greece: Secrets of the Past
Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Deep Sea (3D/2D)
Vikings: Journey to New Worlds
Mystic India
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag

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