Friday, 27 May 2016

"A Beautiful Planet" (Guardian 27/05/16)

A Beautiful Planet ****
Dir: Toni Myers. With: Terry Virts, and the voice of Jennifer Lawrence. 43 mins. Cert: U

With such IMAX credits as Mission to Mir and Hubble 3D to her name, Toni Myers is doing as much as any director to map the galaxy’s outer reaches. Her latest large-format eye-widener achieves a breathtaking new perspective on earthly life by floating cameras to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Tim Peake’s Twitter feed: mere dilettantism. What’s beamed back here combines a snapshot of ISS routine – zero-gravity haircare; terrifying external repairs – with an overview of landmasses subject to vivid natural and man-made phenomena: thunderstorms exploding under cloud cover, pollution clogging veiny rivers, a telling darkness north of the 38th Parallel. Jennifer Lawrence’s narration gets so earnest you might wish she’d sunk at least one rum-and-coke beforehand, but elsewhere dry, rational science is mixed with piquant detail and playful soundtrack choices. The result is the best kind of spectacle: that which encourages us to look up and beyond ourselves – and does so using only organic special effects.

A Beautiful Planet opens in IMAX cinemas nationwide today. 

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