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BMZ Review: Mysteries of the Great Lakes
By Ross Anthony


Mysteries of the Great Lakes
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: March 26, 2009


Category: Reviews

I grew up on the coastline of Lake Michigan, so I'm very familiar with these Great Lakes. Visitors are so often shocked by the size of the "lake." They've never seen a lake with such waves, shores, with the other side clearly out of view. These are very nearly small fresh-water oceans.

The production captures their immensity and rather stark harsh beauty. Shoreline cliffs are void of the reds you find in Utah, or purples you find in Songs of America. And the trees are hearty with a dark green, but lack a gentleness and elegance. It's a strong hard beauty, like a parent showing tough love. Autumn is the time the area shows off its colors. Autumn in the Midwest offers up a stunning, stirring image of rich leafy nature. Sadly, only one shot of autumn's splendor is included here.

That said, the production has much more on its mind than simply showing off pretty pictures. There's a species of fish, the sturgeon, that used to thrive in these Great Lakes. Sadly, apparently due to human's irresponsible polluting, these populations have been wiped out, nearly to extinction. This production follows the efforts of scientists working to bring them back. Some of this is very interesting, some (i.e.: old still photo's of fish slaughter) feels like propaganda. That said, admirably, the film doesn't shy away from showing the tough love of the scientists as they snag, manhandle, implant chips, and release these fish. There's even a shot of these sympathetic humans pushing the eggs out of a female.

Suspect though, this quote, "Leaving nature alone to repair itself is rarely enough." Why go so general? Leaving nature alone -- that sounds like a grand idea. Perhaps they should have said, "There are times when humankind's destructive meddlings in nature require humankind's constructive interventions to repair."

A worthy sequence on regional Bald Eagles is included, but feels quickly shelved. Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald" provides an eerily appropriate intro to this production about Lake Erie and the other Great ones. Overall, I found the film interesting, educational and entertaining, and for me at least, a warm reminder of home.

Mysteries of the GREAT LAKES. Copyright © 2009.
Directed by David Lickley. Written by Stephen Low. DP Reed Smoot. Science North.
Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2008. 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: For Adult & Teen Novels written by Ross Anthony visit:

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