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BMZ Review: S.O.S. Planet 3D
By Herb Lash

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Review of SOS Planet
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: November 2002

     

Category: Reviews

SOS PLANET is part industrial film, part infomercial and part brilliant 3-D animation - the result is an entirely compromised Big Movie. Deforestation, the green house effect, shrinking polar ice caps, polluted air, over fishing - SOS PLANET lists the standard crimes committed by humans against our fragile planet. The "earth first" message is righteous and necessary - and it is delivered up in a maddeningly slapdash manner. It is meaningless to discuss this Big Movie in terms of story or even narrative - it is a jumble of scenes, effects and talking head voice over loosely organized around a common theme. The true Giant Screen fan will be thoroughly frustrated by SOS PLANET - the miraculous 3-D animation in evidence here should be stirring up a revolution inside and outside the Giant Screen world. But the 3-D scenes are reduced to not much more than fancy parlor tricks by the absence of  any thoughtful or crafted storytelling.

The film was financed in part by the eco-friendly Efteling theme park in the Netherlands and payback comes by way of a tour of the park that is shoehorned into the movie. Walter Cronkite lends the prestige of his name and voice to the film - but he is not well served here. Newsman Cronkite is inexplicably framed within a small TV screen at the center of the Giant Screen - as static and boring an image as can be imagined. Cronkite is often caught describing entirely obvious on screen action and the film becomes a droning, professorial lecture. The preservation/conservation themes are for all audiences - the science is geared toward kiddie crowd with a little extra thrown in for the parents.

Clearly, SOS PLANET is not a good film. If you see only one or two Large Format films a year - go see a different Big Movie.  But if you are a Giant Screen enthusiast you should absolutely go see SOS PLANET. A gently galloping sea horse, a goofy and elegant sea turtle, an octopus that will make you flinch, an orangutan playing ball in the trees and a polar bear family hurtling through icebergs off and out of the screen - these 3-D animals are stunning. The quality of the 3-D effect is unrivaled and the anthropomorphic touches are heart warming. One gets the sense that this film was supposed to be about these animal characters, their voices and their adventures  - the film was supposed to be their story. SOS PLANET is a great tease, full of undelivered promises.

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