Interweaves Twain's life and times with the lives of current day enthusiasts of the 19th century way of life. Utilizing archival stereo-optic photos, powerful images from the past seemingly ... Read allInterweaves Twain's life and times with the lives of current day enthusiasts of the 19th century way of life. Utilizing archival stereo-optic photos, powerful images from the past seemingly come alive in a larger-than-life presentation.Interweaves Twain's life and times with the lives of current day enthusiasts of the 19th century way of life. Utilizing archival stereo-optic photos, powerful images from the past seemingly come alive in a larger-than-life presentation.
"Mark Twain's America" is more A&E Biography than it is spectacular Imax 3-D entertainment. Sure, its interesting enough, and sure you walk out with a better understanding of our distant yester-year and famed author Mark Twain, but "Wings Of Courage" or "Everest" it is not. There are no avalanches coming down on us, nor wild tumbles down mile-high mountains. What this latest IMAX effort does have, though, is black and white photos of the Twain-ster himself and other semi-familiar historic glimpses of the past, digitally transferred to a 3-D format to create a startling realness. As a mild fan of Mr. Twain myself, and a mild American history buff as well, I found my eyes wide at the remarkable effect of the photos in 3-D, and my attention was held for some time; until the minutes kept ticking by, and the novelty of wearing 3-D glasses began to fade, and director Stephen Low's endless assortment of photos kept coming with the narrational talents of Anne Bancroft droning on... Mercifully, Mr. Low does cut in live action footage to break up the monotony and take advantage of shooting a 3-D film. The Civil War re-enactment battle scenes are particularly enjoyable, as well as some 19th century ballroom dance sequences. Combined with these are scenes of modern day Hannibal, Missouri, Twain's own birthplace, which give a somewhat confusing affect. The whole point the film stresses is the past that was the world of Mark Twain, and it seemingly cries out to the audience to allow yourself to be swept away and immersed in a time long gone...yet when we're not watching modern day parades and modern day youngins' frolicing in rivers, we have Anne Bancroft's voice similar to that of a principal's voice over a P.A. system telling us that the scenes we're watching supposedly set in 1860-something are "just recreations, the people we're seeing are just actors pretending to be in the past"...so what's up with that?? It's really the film's only sore point, and that should be placed on the shoulders of Low, who, on his way to a documentary IMAX film touchdown, fumbles the ball he has placed in his own hands, and leaves us only vaguely satisfied at the hurried conclusion the movie has. Special mention should be made of Alan Williams' heartfelt score...I predict we will be seeing, or hearing rather, a lot of his work in the near future.
- Oct 16, 1998
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