Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movie Review: IMAX Dolphins 4 Stars

MacGillivray Freeman Films, the creators of the celebrated large-format documentary Everest, return to IMAX theatres with Dolphins, a nature film about the only other animal we share this planet with that possesses sentiency.

The highly-developed aquatic mammals only have one enemy in the wild -- sharks! But the greatest threat to their existence is, of course, man, who has killed millions of them with pre-dolphin-safe tuna fishing nets, boat propellers and pollution.

Dolphins, however, doesn’t focus on the slaughter, but rather on the conservation efforts of scientists who have dedicated their lives to learning more about the underwater wonders in hopes of discovering a way to peacefully coexist.

The film follows the adventures of Kathleen Dudzinski and Dean Bernal, two scientists and naturalists working in different seas to unlock the secrets of dolphins. Dudzinski is following groups of feral Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas and duskies in the ocean off Patagonia. She is studying their uncanny verbal and nonverbal communication, the closest intercourse in the animal kingdom to human language. For fifteen years, Bernal has played with a reclusive bottlenose dolphin named JoJo, who expresses emotions like joy and disappointment and has even rescued Bernal from the jaws of a hammerhead shark.

Narrated by Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, Dolphins is underscored with a new single from Sting as well as re-arrangements of several of his songs. Gorgeously photographed by the MacGillivray Freeman Films team with IMAX cameras and recorded with audio equipment specially designed by Dudzinski, Dolphins is dizzying and beautiful, the closest most people will ever get to feeling like they are swimming with dolphins. And it’s not nearly as scary as a seventy-foot-tall Mick Jagger.

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