IMAX’s fantastic view of ‘A Beautiful Planet’

LOS ANGELES-The IMAX experience is something like no other. There is nothing like it. It’s latest documentary wonder of beauty proves it once again. If you ever have been blown away by a film through the IMAX lens, then be prepared to drop your jaw when you watch “A Beautiful Planet.”

Made in IMAX and IMAX 3D, ” A Beautiful Planet” illicit the same kind of goosebumps I have whenever I listen to Berlin’s haunting hit song, “Take My Breath Away.” It will literally take your breath away. When you watch “A Beautiful Planet,” you can’t help but get caught up in the wondrous glory of planet Earth.

If you look close enough there are plenty of amazing jewels you can find in “A Beautiful Planet.” That starts with the International Space Station (ISS), the collective space facility built by 16 countries. As Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence alludes to in her narration of this space and environmental odyssey, ISS is certifiable proof what we can achieve together.

ISS is where the effectiveness of “A Beautiful Planet” comes to life. “A Beautiful Planet” allows audiences to have a front row seat to witnessing something greater than their routine trek to the movies. It’s like you’re there in space with these astronauts, monitoring and hovering around the galaxy with a watchful eye of both awe and trepidation.

 A scene from the IMAX® film A Beautiful Planet – The entire North East of Canada, the United States and beyond as seen from the International Space Station. © 2016 IMAX Corporation Photo courtesy of NASA

A scene from the IMAX® film A Beautiful Planet – The entire North East of Canada, the United States and beyond as seen from the International Space Station. © 2016 IMAX Corporation Photo courtesy of NASA

You don’t have to be a scientist or some sort of nature buff to fully appreciate the galactic dimensions  of “A Beautiful Planet.” In “A Beautiful Planet,” the film”s producer and director, Toni Myers, goes beyond her highly successful “Under the Sea 3D” and “Deep Sea 3D” exploratory water masterpieces to introduce to us a different kind of revelation: our planet.

What we see in “A Beautiful Planet” is the wondrous potential of beauty that Earth is. We also see the fast erosion of this planet caused by man-made destructive patterns that could possibly threaten to eradicate us from existing.

It is very easy to assume that the conclusion to reach from “A Beautiful Planet” is a global climate warning of potential catastrophic proportions for mankind. It is much more than that. While the film points to the absolute deforestation of Madagascar and the continued glacial meltdown of places like Greenland, Myers, like in her previous documentaries, showcases the brilliance of her subject.

Instead of the sweeping majesties of the oceans and seas, the brilliance of planet Earth is Myers’ focus this time around. It works pretty well, thanks to the heroic work done by NASA and its bevy of astronauts supplied in the film to assist in the space movie project.

Man’s fascination with life beyond the stars didn’t begin with Neil Armstrong touching down on the Moon. Thankfully, it didn’t end there either. The curious concept of thinking of life outside of our existence on Earth is one that has many layers and branches to it. We don’t have astronauts in space just to twiddle their fingers.

A scene from the IMAX® film A Beautiful Planet – NASA Commander Barry (Butch) Willmore on a spacewalk to repair the exterior of the International Space Station. It’s almost 300° on the sun side of the space station and -275° in the shade. © 2016 IMAX Corporation Photo courtesy of NASA
A scene from the IMAX® film A Beautiful Planet – NASA Commander Barry (Butch) Willmore on a spacewalk to repair the exterior of the International Space Station. It’s almost 300° on the sun side of the space station and -275° in the shade. © 2016 IMAX Corporation Photo courtesy of NASA

They are there in place to see the unseen, to invalidate the impossible and to help bring understanding about the essence of life, whether it’s on Earth or on other planets. It is largely because of the extraordinary efforts of these astronauts that “A Beautiful Planet” is the stunning presentation that it is.

It is an unparalleled journey that Myers and director of photography, James Neihouse, take us on. The solar picture painted by the astronauts used in the film makes “A Beautiful Planet” a most worthy cause to celebrate.

You become more ingrained in the film as you watch the astronauts passing out gifts and celebrate Christmas in the space station, go through their daily exercise training and produce mundane moments like meeting and greeting fellow space buddies as they float by one another.

But with photographic footage of the shrinkage of the Colorado River Basin and the ever-growing wipeout of the Gulf of Mexico, “A Beautiful Planet” and these fun-loving astronauts (Commander Terry Virts, Commander Barry E. “Butch” Wilmore) gives viewers a heartfelt examination of the Earth’s  depleted reality, good, bad and indifferent.

The good that we see in “A Beautiful Planet” begin with ISS looking down on Earth with a “wow” telescopic view. It is an awesome sight to behold with the bright lights of Rome and Tokyo glimmering with salutation illumination. The sights and sounds of this film are fantastic. We see the quiet of the beauty that makes our planet a special place as “A Beautiful Planet” surveys all dimensions of the Earth.

Yes, we see the clear takeout of the the amazing rainforests in the Amazon. But we also see the upstart revitalization of the Chesapeake Bay in North Carolina. “A Beautiful Planet” is an important film. It should be watched by everyone who cares an inkling about the future of this planet.

The best part of the film is that it gives us hope. Instead of being a battering ram knocking you over the head with a shock and awe disposition, “A Beautiful Planet” kinds of nudges us to do better in protecting our greatest asset, which is the Earth. For 46 minutes,” A Beautiful Planet” carries us on a journey of awe and wonder of what our participation should be in keeping Earth shielded from dangers of extinction.

The awe comes from the meticulously detailed points that Myers is able to bring out in the film. The wonder arises from the fascinating look at our totality as living beings on a remarkable planet of super naturalistic resources. The hope through “A Beautiful Planet” is that we keep it that way.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1138 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.