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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Almost perfect

Author: sam_nas
6 March 2003

This is a great documentary with some amazing footage of wild animals. My only complaint is that they showed humans, that ruined it for me. They showed about 5 minutes of africans in the serengeti and how they live, also they showed a little bit of visitors in hot air baloons. IMO, I would have rathered that they kept it only about the wild animals, we see humans every day and it's too bad that they included some here. So without this, I would have given it a 10/10. But since there are humans, I give it 8/10. But a big two thumbs up to IMAZ, this is great stuff!

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Pretty good nature documentary

8/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
6 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Africa: The Serengeti" is another 40-minute documentary by 4-time Oscar nominee George Casey and even if this one here was not in contention for an Academy Award, I still found it a pretty good watch. It is fairly difficult to elaborate on such a diverse topic like the Serengeti in such a short film, but I believe Casey did a convincing job. He never goes too much into detail that it becomes uninteresting to audiences, but still teaches us a couple interesting facts. The narrator is James Earl Jones and he voiced this one fittingly the very same year he worked on "The Lion king", which is still his most known work over 20 years later. But this classic should not be the topic today. Lats talk a bit more about this great documentary we have here. Buffaloes, lions and crocodiles all get their fair amount if screen time in this one and occasionally, we also find out about the people living there in deepest Africa, the so-called Maasai and also about the climate, vegetation and a couple other subjects. This documentary can be a great watch to aspiring nature documentary makers, but also for those who just love the genre. Like myself. I highly recommend checking it out. Thumbs up for one of IMAX' finest.

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Drama that only real-life can provide

Author: The_Film_Cricket from Birmingham, Alabama
14 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The animals living in the wilds of Africa have an order, a schedule and a system of natural law by which that spend their entire lives. Deviate from them and you're dead. That is the central idea presented by 'Africa: The Serengeti' a spectacular and sometimes breathtaking IMAX feature created by George Casey who also directed the stunning 'Ring of Fire'.

We learn that there is order in nature by which the lioness kills for food then gives the carcass to the male. The male has his share then the lioness and the cubs, then the smaller predators on down to the vultures. This is a system and a way of life.

Early on we meet the Wildebeests who will become the focal point of Casey's film. They are cattle who seem to serve the basic functions of their own survival but from the film's point of view they are also a major source of food for lions if they aren't careful. In one tense moment we see a herd walking cautiously past a den of lions waiting in the bush for their moment of attack. That's just one of the many stunning moments that Casey was able to capture. There is a heartbreaking scene in which the wildebeest heard attempts to climb some slippery rocks to evade alligators. Some become too exhausted to carry on and will eventually become food.

Sometimes we feel like interlopers especially in the mating scenes in which the male lion almost seems boorish, this followed by an extreme close-up of the two blissful lions sleeping in the sun. But it also offers some images that aren't so easy to take like vultures picking the bones of a wildebeest to which narrator James Earl Jones offers 'In nature, nothing is wasted'. We get a stomach-churning glimpse of the cheetah as it hunts down a wildebeest and rips it apart.

To say that the photography of 'Africa: The Serengeti' is breathtaking is an understatement but the central theme of the film is that the order of the wild happens because out there it's survival of the fittest. Even the infants are at risk if they don't pull their weight.

Because it is a documentary and subsequently a mirror of life we don't know what to predict. After having seen the wildebeests give birth we are told the if they don't get up and walk then the heard will abandon them. Sure enough one had trouble and the heard moves on. We fear for its life because we know that it can't possibly survive. In one surprisingly emotional moment the young cow springs to its feet and catches up with the family, the kind of stirring moment that only real life can provide.

*** (of four)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A guide to the Serengeti, worth seeing

8/10
Author: fernando_passarog from Argentina
7 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a guide to one of Earth's most interesting places: the Serengeti ecosystem, which includes Serengeti National Park in Tanzania (as well as a handful of other reserves around the park, such as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area) and the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya.

The images we see are spectacular, although nothing new to someone used to watch wildlife documentaries, meaning that there are no really amazing scenes. The same I can say about the information we receive from the narrator, James Earl Jones: if you are keen on the subject, you'll not learn anything. But probably the film was only intended to introduce anyone to this fascinating world that is the Serengeti.

It is evident that the main character of the movie is the wildebeest migration: they are shown grazing, mating, crossing the Mara river and being hunted by another main character, the lion. But we also receive information about other animals such as elephants, cheetah, zebras, gazelles, baboons and giraffes, and can take a glance of even more: crocodiles, ostrich, Kori bustard, vervet monkeys, hyenas, vultures.

Although the animals are the bulke of the documentary, it also makes reference to the volcanic origin of the Serengeti plains, to the paleontological findings in the Olduvai Gorge (where our ancestors, the Australopithecus, were found), to the Masai tribes that still live in the area, and even to the tourists that visit it.

However, I have the feeling that some facts were dramatized, meaning they were manipulated so that the documentary looked more as a "movie". For example, when in the end the young wildebeest couldn't stand up, the one we see jumping in the end was not the same that finally stood up (in any case the effect was the same, the point is that the wildebeest could stand up). And according to another documentary, the Mara river is worst when the wildebeest go to Masai Mara, not when they return to Serengeti.

Finally, the music was just spectacular, although I think it was not composed for the movie. The composers are Hans Zimmer and Lebo M., the ones who also wrote the music of The Lion King (by the way, not only the score reminds of that movie in this documentary).

In conclusion, this is a worth seeing movie for anyone who likes the subject, and a must see for someone who has no idea about it.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Amazing video, audio quality

10/10
Author: spolina from Baltimore, USA
7 October 2001

This IMAX movie is a very interesting documentary. If you have big screen TV or digital TV, this is the one DVD you should own to enjoy stunning video quality. It also has great Dolby Digital Sound and will max out the Home Theater System to the fullest.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I-Max at its Best,"Africa:The Serengeti"

9/10
Author: nelliebell-1 from United States
15 October 2004

There are more than one element that makes this film a first rate movie going experience.The only actor assigned is James Earl Jones as Narrator.His gift of speech is excellent with a presentation that allows the viewer to participate in a wider,deeper plain than just the Serengeti,however it is indeed the Serengeti where all of time passes and we are blessed with an attempt to show life as everlasting,such is the contribution of the Narrator Voice and its place in the viewing of this very well made I-Max presentation.The visual aspect is not entirely subtle,it is more like, very up front with an important condition and that condition is in the telling of this very dramatic story.It is not so simple a thing to allow the reader to know what is actually required but as is pointed out in the narration there is no remorse when a predator(Cheetah) runs down a Gazelle(very young one)and provides for its own(of which there are only 1 left of 4 born to this Cheetah)It is very strong with an accent of survival merely by numbers and perhaps a little bit of luck.The fittest does not seem to fit as the wildebeest it is suggested was formed by committee from spare parts,A very intelligent presentation with much more to come.The migration of the large size herds is undaunted and though it is absolutely riveting it is murderous with these almost dumb like animals literally trampling each other to death.It is quite something to view as this event unfolds across the plains of the Serengeti.This migration if you will occurs every year with the onset of the rains in the North to the Southern extremes ,encompassing the Kenyan and Tanzanian plains .This is very much both excellent story telling and a documentary as well.The short history and timeless quality presented provide a survey that underpins the journey of the wildebeest and it is even a little bit much to take when it is suggested that herbivores eat grass and vegetation while carnivores eat herbivores.What is a bit much, there does not seem to be a element of fitness in there survival but of the sheer weight of numbers that allow for the species to survive. The predators seem only to choose there time for there chance as those same numbers go running by your front door by the thousands in this historical and timeless journey across the plains of Africa.This by itself will very much keep your attention,however it is not the only element that this film possesses which provide for a worthwhile movie going experience.There is both choral and vocal composition which accompany the film and may almost catch you off guard as to its place in the telling of the story,it is very good.This is a no holds barred idea of life and death that is presented in a timeless quality that can get to you with a wow.The best part and perhaps the reason why this film was seen by me was the I-Max format.It is in fact a WOW!The film opens and the plains of the Serengeti are almost below you as well as thousands of running Wildebeests.This film from the beginning is a credit to the storytelling ability that the I-Max format provides for,wide beautiful vistas stretching the limits of our movie going experience almost to witness a miracle (though we suggest it is nature)in the migration of the African wildebeest.This is a very good movie.It is worthwhile a purchase and even in a humbled presentation will stand if you will the test of time.I know I just viewed it on my computer.I have had the pleasure of attending a few I-Max shows and it would seem that not every presentation works as well as every other presentation.There was also the stories and that to seemed not always to work either,however there were exceptions and one which I compare with Africa:The Serengeti and that is T-Rex:Back To The Cretaceous.There are many ways to present a dramatic story and though Africa:The Serengeti is an example of one such way, T-Rex:Back To The Cretaceous tells a tale with mind you the same kind of unfolding history but it does it with subtlety and the development of a story within a story.It too, to me represents an all around presentation in the I-Max format that is worthy of this entertainment vehicle that we know as I-Max.Both films are excellent and both are very highly recommended.

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4 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

It's okay... nothing special

6/10
Author: Zorro-3 from USA
27 February 2005

Like any nature-log you might see on Animal Planet. But bigger.

The photography is stunning, but somehow I left the theater thinking that they could have made a much more exciting film. Despite the killing scenes, it overall had a serene feel.

And what was up with the balloon people and the tribesmen? Quite tangential and not really belonging with the animal stuff. There wasn't even really much of a connection. At not least one that we saw depicted.

I think films like this are a waste of the IMAX medium. I would never knock natural beauty, but why do you need IMAX for that? For REALLY BIG natural beauty? No, the wonderful thing about IMAX is the ability to make you feel like you're there. So SCARE me! Put my heart in my mouth! To see the medium utilized to the fullest, see "NASCAR 3-D."

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