By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
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A Beautiful Planet is a gorgeous film that only IMAX can capture. No other film format will do to capture what astronauts behold every day while living in the International Space Station (ISS). Most of the filming was done by those astronauts on their downtime and I suspect they were given minimal direction by writer/editor Toni Myers on what to catch on camera. I loved looking at the life on board this station more instead of looking down upon the planet Earth.
When peering down, weather systems can be examined, the spread of humans upon the continents are better understood (Moscow truly looks like Star City, even though that’s in Moscow Oblast), and the light from these cities is nothing but awe striking. My only nitpick is that when looking at this planet, I did not see much depth to this 3D product. Either my vision is not being perfect or the 3D compositors working on the conversation had no reference to give those scenes the feeling of looking far away real. Some layers of the atmosphere being peeled away as a camera drone entered it would have made for an excellent view. The 3D window to the world that is Earth was kind of flat even though it was rendered in fantastic Ultra 4K. When the type of camera brought aboard the station is a single lens model, the conversion to 3d should not have been done.
The look at the work the astronauts did inside the station to study the affects of living in space leapt at me more.
Watching this film back-to-back with America Wild: National Parks Adventure gave me the experience I was craving. This documentary tackled the issues of climate change upon the planet instead of just how one country is affected. The look at how the landscape can change overnight is chilling. However, this film was probably assembled in the span of a year or two instead of decades. Some effects can take place within a season, such as the droughts in California; those are easily documented. I felt my heart ache at how Madagascar is losing its lush jungles. The Great Amazon forest is being whittled away.
Hopefully, this documentary can convince folks to rally to incite change. This film, intentional or not, is a call to action. There’s always time to reverse the damage humanity is doing to this planet. As a jewel of this solar system, it has to shine. That’s why it’s called a beautiful planet.
4 Stars out of 5