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BMZ Review: Wildfire: Feel the Heat
By Ross Anthony

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Burnin' down the house
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: 2000
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

A tribute to the men, women and machines that fight fires. Though hindered by traditional documentary tactics and on a rather dirty reel, some fine big cam cinematography graces "Wildfire."

"We've become so good at putting them out..." the forests are just waiting to blaze. And when they do, the people fighting them ironically set perfectly good trees on fire to do it.

Smokejumpers leap out of a plane into a smoldering field with only a minute or two to scope out a place to land. Shot from the plane, from the ground and from the jumper (which is totally awesome) ... you'll feel like you're the one scanning the fast approaching landscape for a secure spot. And if that isn't work enough, these folks return to repair their own chutes.

A brush fire burns though California as easily as paper. Aerial shots capture the beast, huge billowing smoke clouds grant you the privilege of witness without the danger. A tanker plane dives to drop its red retardant load. We sit in the cockpit, then strapped on its belly to watch the red fall.

A couple of specially trained firefighters repel from opposite sides of a copter hovering over the forest.

A skylift copter buzzes like an insect, hose hanging between its legs like the nose of an anteater as it slurps up water from whichever lake or pond it can find. Then with the camera down below, it drops its load all over that huge LFX screen.

Those are the highlights. The lowlights include: a moment or two of handheld large format camera (yikes, brings back memories of "Blair Witch"), ending shots of firemen walking in freeze-frame slow-mo through the conquered smolderings - hokier than need be (the concluding re-visiting sequence is sufficient and much less patronizing). But it's the standard-documentary factor that holds this fiery film from exploding on screen. Interesting, informative, even well-narrated it still smells a bit of the stuff we'd see on TV.

Overall, "Wildfire" is a well-paced 40-minute documentary with some well-placed "hot" camera action giving you the opportunity to jump out of the plane into the fire.



Copyright (C) 2000.
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: RossAnthony.com

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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