Greatest Places has a syrupy sweet, cloying narrative. (On several occasions I covered my ears in order to endure it.) I give this movie a 2. If Avery Brooks only could have had laryngitis that day, this movie could have earned a 5 instead (without *any* narrative at all). The low grade of the movie isn't Brooks' fault per se, although he does a superlative job of drawing out each sappy line, with his skilled melodic baritone. Afterwards, watching the credits, I cursed the writer.
Moving on to the cinematography: Some of the images were, as your would expect, breathtaking. I was especially enamored of Madagascar and Namib. But the enormous power of IMAX imagery was blown to bits with choppy editing and constant (dozens) of abrupt cuts (every 15 to 20 seconds) from panoramic landscapes to adorably cute animals or close-up flora & fauna.
Uggghh! Very frustrating! Every time the imagery sweeps over you with power and grandeur, it's crudely jerked away and replaced with something to make a 3rd grader go "awww ... isn't that cute". The frequent changes in visual scale -- from viewing 15,000 feet of landscape to face-shots of cute animals -- are enough to give you vertigo, or at least a headache.
The movie had a valid concept. But together with a horrible writer, an outstanding saccharine execution of a juvenile narrative, and "gotta get a little of every shot in here" editing, the entire movie was lost. I wouldn't watch it again if you paid me. (But I would gladly order some 16 x 20 color prints from the movie's imagery.) What a shame.
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