Image Entertainment // 1997 // 39 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 9th, 2009
There are dolphins in the Amazon?!
Yeah, color me shocked. But that's what watching nature documentaries are for right? Getting your learn on.
Director Kieth Merrill and his crew lug their gigantic IMAX camera into the Amazon basin, to take a stunningly beautiful scenic tour of the jungle, mixed with a few stops to visit nude, indigenous tribes.
The governing story is that of a shaman, accompanied by a Western researcher, as he travels deep into the wilderness seeking out unique herbal cures. Along the way -- dolphins!!!
Amazon clocks in at a scant 39 minutes and brings with it no substantial extras, so the brevity of the experience is certainly an obstacle. But if you dig nature films and have an even passing interest in the craziness that is the Amazon, you should track this Blu-ray down and give it a spin.
The cinematography is awesome. I don't how these guys capture so much beauty, especially from such crazy angles (one sequence has the camera descending a tree). Isn't an IMAX camera (circa 1997 no less) just slightly smaller than a Volvo? Well who cares how many vertebrae the camera operators ruptured, the footage they came back with -- vistas, natives, animals -- is a wonder to behold.
Peripheral to this excellent scenery is the shaman's story. His search for ancient medicinal herbs is legitimately interesting and the two tribes he connects with to further his search are shockingly old-school. My favorite: the tribe where the adults pierce their bottom lips and shove thick wooden stakes through them. I'm not sure how that translates into a satisfying Dentyne experience, but they certainly looked hardcore.
And with that, our shaman takes his healing foliage, jumps in his plane, and takes off. The End. Like I said, short, but you get a ton of eye candy for your 40 minutes and nifty little human interest story.
The video quality is, as you would surmise, outstanding. Sporting a 1.78:1 1080p widescreen treatment, the high-def transfer pushes out the amazing color and detail that floods the Amazon with gusto. There isn't a muddy scene to be found, except for the scenes with all the mud, of course. The DTS-HD Master audio track is satisfying if not entirely aggressive. Then again there simply isn't much for it do; the film is all musical accompaniment and Linda Hunt's narration. Only one extra and it's lame: a trivia game.
It may not be the most bang-for-your-buck package, but Amazon transmits the richness of one of the planet's most ridiculously beautiful locales with style. Plus, no tedious eco-moralizing!
Not Guilty. I still can't believe that kid went swimming in the river though.
Don't those penis fish live in the Amazon?!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 39 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Trivia Game