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BMZ Review: Magic Journey to Africa (3D)
By Ann Coates


Magic Journey to Africa 3D
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: March 28, 2011


Category: Reviews

Released in IMAX and other Giant Screen theaters, Magic Journey to Africa 3D is a prime testament to why Giant Screen filmmakers should stick with documentaries and avoid fictional storytelling at all costs.  The film tells the aimless story of a 10-year-old named Jana and her obsession with a homeless boy whom she sees in the streets of Barcelona.  Jana's somewhat disturbing curiosity and search for the boy propels her into African dreamscapes and into a disconnected journey from one inexplicable scene to the next.

From what I was able to gather from the story, Jana -- lunching with her father -- is suddenly drawn to a little African boy whom she sees in passing.  She thinks of the boy night and day, and eventually discovers he is ill and in the hospital.  They form a friendship even if the boy is mostly unconscious.  He leaves the hospital without informing Jana, but manages to send her a magical stone which transports her to a Wonderland version of Africa where Jana searches for her friend.

A major flaw of the film is its lack of connective thread.  It's basically a jumbled mess of African vistas, sentient animals and a girl on a journey to find the world of dreams -- which technically isn't she already there if there are talking animals and flying horses?  A fantasy without direction or rules, the story meanders as Jana encounters animals and people that offer lofty messages about finding one's own reality or something ...

The film suddenly turns from Jana's search for the boy into her quest to protect the stories of mankind -- which apparently fall from the sky in fully published book form.  She and her guide attempt to save one of these books from attacking crows intent on destroying mankind's stories.  Then something happens where the two are transported into an area occupied by children and elephants.  The children must read these books to the elephants who will remember the stories for all eternity.  Huh?  Exactly.

In any case, I'm assuming this nonsense of a film is a meditation on death without actually saying it.  The boy "leaves" the hospital most likely by dying.  Jana -- searching perhaps for her already dead friend -- is transported into this middle world where reality and fantasy co-mingle.  Is Jana herself dead or alive?  Or is she a Dante-figure guiding us through a purgatory realm between life and death?  One particular visual cue evokes the death metaphor: a newly-killed lioness and the boy sleep in an abandoned building that I assume is the realm of the dead.  If that is the case, then I think my brain decided to stay there rather than endure the rest of this film.  Goodbye!

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
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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