Africa's Elephant Kingdom

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 09/21/98 22:41:52

"Strictly an educational experience. And not a good one at that."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Let's get something out of the way here very early on. If you go see an IMAX movie during the day, you will find yourself in the middle of throngs of school children. Your chair will be kicked, the chattering will be relentless, you'll wish you were elsewhere and complaints will be met with shrugs by the minimum wage staff. Overall, regardless of the beauty of the images before you, if you are over 15.. you will wish a horrid painful death on all present.

Which really explains why every IMAX film is a quasi-educational documentary with no story, no acting, a token celebrity voice-over and the feeling that you've been here before in high school. Put simply, outside of class field trips and country folk who are in town for the day and prepared to ooh-ah at the spectacle, IMAX has no huge fanbase and exists on the schoolies.

Shame that, since they have some sensational people making movies for them. Africa's Elephant Kingdom is one of the better ones I've seen.

It follows the path of a family of elephants, and one little bub in particular, as they make an annual trek in search for water and fresh feeding areas. This film doesn't follow the usual IMAX path of facts and nothing else, it actually makes the elephants trek into quite a stirring tale, giving each of the elephants a bit of depth of character, strange as it may sound.

Unfortunately, it doesn't really make use of the huge screen format, but for one particular scene where the car carrying the camera is chased by an angry bull elephant. The bull get's way too close and fills the screen. It's pretty stirring stuff, almost 3D in it's closeness to the camera.

But sadly, it's but one great scene in a run-of-the-mill 40 minute nature documentary. And to make matters worse, you're certain to be discovered later slamming the head of a 12 year old into a foyer trash can for repeatedly kicking the back of your seat.

As an IMAX film, Africa's Elephant Kingdom is better than most. But as an experience, visiting IMAX is like visiting a psychiatrist. You pay more than you'd like, your visit is too short and you leave feeling pissed off, if anything at all.

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