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Australia: Land Beyond Time (2002)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 175 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

A breathtaking journey through the exotic, surreal and dramatic natural environment of Australia.

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A breathtaking journey through the exotic, surreal and dramatic natural environment of Australia.

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Documentary | Short

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25 May 2002 (USA)  »

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Too Vast
3 May 2008 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I have some serious confusion about IMAX. Movies are a serious part of my life. IMAX is a presumably important development in that world, but I just cannot figure out what it means. That confusion is compounded by the sorts of films one can see there.

This uncertainty conveys the thrill that something important is going on. I think there have been two or three cusps in the evolution of film where it went into a period of multiple, clouded options about just what it was. I'm curious now, because I think some of the evolutionary results in the past trimmed off options that could have been important to me.

So I go to IMAX. I see conventional movies made in three-d and projected on the large screen as well as smaller ones. These effects are tuned to multiplex screens though. I do see three-d movies made for IMAX, things that are generally short and have no narrative coherence. They seem designed to show off the uniqueness of the technology well, but after that we have little that matters. (I still have a once-used expensive vinyl LP that was supposed to show off the range of my then new fancy hifi.)

The two-d films are less confused. Sure, I can go see the same movie I can see in the mall, only bigger. But with something like The Spiderwick Chronicles, that simply inflates the flaws.

Then there are films like these.

I chose this because Australia fascinates me. Its an amazing place which incubates artists with powerful charms. Its identity and history as a place are interesting too, but only as they influence the souls therein. We get no souls here. The idea is that in the short time of exposure to the terrain and animals, you will have some small sense of influence.

To make this work, they find a narrative, one about an expectant desert occasionally turned into a wetland cornucopia of life for a few weeks, and then to return to its exotic sleep. As with all these projects, we see color and scale all of which is explained in an earnest narration.

The problem is that all the narrative, the story, is contained in the narration, and the images are mere confirmation, essentially busyness for our eyes while we hear what is being said. There's no conveyance directly from the images. And that's what the promise of IMAX was, I think, that we would open a new vocabulary of cinematic narrative.

Not yet.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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