Beautiful images of Earth


April 23, 2004

Sacred Planet

** Rated G

Though dazzlingly shot, well-intentioned and timed to Earth Day celebrations this week, the Imax feature Sacred Planet is superfluous.

Shots of natural serenity, from Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park to enormous Buddhist statues in the jungles of Thailand, are contrasted with scenes of urban bustle. Meanwhile, actors intone the words of tribesmen who follow traditional practices in remote pockets of the globe, reciting truisms about how we must live in harmony with Mother Earth.

It's like a preacher rhapsodizing about peace while the Visigoths set fire to the church. Our SUV-driving population is unlikely to return to hunting and gathering in this lifetime.

The soundtrack is great, eclectic and organic songs from artists as disparate as the Afro Celt Sound System and Ziggy Marley. And the footage, particularly time-lapse, is remarkable: a craggy tree sits in California's Joshua Tree National Park as stars pinwheel above it. Oddly, though, none of this is enhanced by the Imax format. Nature is always living large. It doesn't require special effects.

- Knight Ridder/Tribune

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