Journey to the South Pacific (10/10)
in IMAX is horribly expensive. The projector alone costs $2 million.
Each camera costs $500,000. I don’t know how the economics justify
the costs, especially for a 40 minute film like this, but the result is
in IMAX results in 10 times the information one gets on a standard 35mm
film. While digital is rapidly replacing film, digital photography will
not get the clarity and sharpness presently produced by IMAX for at
least five years. The first IMAX film was produced 32 years ago and it
is still playing at a Museum in Washington DC.
film is simply stunning. The color is so sharp and bright the scenes are
hypnotic. But it is not just the color that makes IMAX unique. The
screen is so huge that it captures a lot more images than just the main
one. As a result, it gives the viewer the liberty to look around the
screen and see other things going on rather than just the primary
subject. There is no other visual medium that gives such a clarity of
image providing the viewer the sensation of actually being there.
story told here is about Jawi, a 13-year old West Papuan Island boy who
takes a journey on the Kalabia, a real-life ship, called a
floating classroom, throughout the West Papuan archipelago, the point of
which is to teach him and the others on the ship how to protect its
still pristine coral reef, which contains more than 500 species of coral
and 2000 species of marine life, more ocean diversity than anywhere on
minute film is 100 times more entertaining and fascinating than sitting
through a three-hour Martin Scorsese extravaganza, and 1000 times more
According to director Greg MacGillivray, many of the creatures captured
by his cameras were “happy accidents.” Specifically there are the giant
leatherback turtles that showed up, literally out of the blue. These
turtles had swum six thousand miles to lay their eggs and they happened
to arrive the same time that MacGillivray was shooting.
aware that rare 40-foot whale sharks often cavorted in the area and for
a few days he had his cameras where they were sometimes spotted, not
really expecting to see them. However the last day he went to that area
one was spotted, then another, then a whole school. He encouraged Jawi
to swim among them. Even though they are not man-eating sharks, they are
so huge that a stroke of a tail could cause serious injury. Jawi was
dubious, but finally dove in among them, and the scenes of Jawi
interacting with the huge creatures are magical.
Narrated by Cate Blanchett the photography overwhelms the interesting
story. For every foot of film that found its way into the final print,
MacGillivray shot 30 feet. To put it another way, less than three
percent of what he shot was used in the final cut. He utilized six
cameras (that’s $3 million right there) among four photographic teams,
one in a helicopter, two diving, and one on the ground.
Both my guest and I commented on how happy all the Papuans who appear in
the film seem and Macgillvray even said that he has never seen people so
happy. And why not? From what this film shows, they live in paradise and
are smart enough to realize it.
colors of the reef and hundreds of different species of fish are so
varied and gorgeous that it leaves you crying for more. I rarely want to
see movies more than once, but I can’t wait to see this one again.