“Penguins,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough flew south for the winter yesterday in order to make way for, “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” the newest American Museum of Natural History IMAX exhibit, which proceeds it today.
The exhibit, an IMAX 3D motion picture by filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg, is narrated by Forest Whitaker and utilises time lapse photography, which captures stunning scenes too slow, too fast, too small or too vast for the human eye.
“Nature’s wonders open up your mind to so many possibilities of looking at the world differently,” Schwartzberg says of his motivation to create the film. “We are living in a more digital, sped up world and what nature can do is slow you down and make you more mindful. You can just walk by a flower and not even notice it or you can stop and smell it or even better you can look at it close up and look at its richness and pattern, it’s a cliche, but we don’t stop and smell the roses.”
The film features animal, vegetable and mineral. From a remarkably detailed explanation of a gecko’s ability to climb to flowers that blossom before the viewer’s eyes in a matter of seconds to how gold may one day be used to destroy cancer cells, the viewer is shown the intricacies of the natural world in a prodigiously stunning and precise 3D journey.
The film goes beyond the standard scientific lecture in both its scope, message and minute visual detail.
“If you can open up peoples hearts, make them compassionate to the beauty of nature, then obviously they will protect it. We are hardwired to protect what we fall in love with,” says Schwartzberg. “I just try to explain the truth and the science of the natural world. If you that well, then I think that people will naturally do the right thing.”
Though Forest Whitaker may not be the first person that a viewer would relate to narration, this was a very conscious association on the part of the filmmaker. Schwartzberg says of his casting decision, “Forest Whitaker has a great blend of a very sensitive voice, but an earthy voice and it certainly had to have an urban feel. A lot of our film takes place in an urban environment, which I think is great. We are not saying go out into nature in order to experience it, you can experience it just by experiencing the critters in your body or the remote in your hand.”
Schwartzberg has contributed to such films as, “E.T.,” “Independence Day,” “Men in Black,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Twister.”
The film breaks ground as the Natural History Museum’s first 3D film to be shown in the museum’s LeFrak IMAX theatre. It will be priced at $25 for adults, $20.50 for students and seniors and $13.50 for children in addition to regular admission (suggested admission is $22, $17 and and $12.50 for adults, students/seniors and children respectively).
Though not explicitly stated in the film, Schwartzberg says that the film is intended to do more than simply teach science. “I am trying to show my vision of the world. I am trying to appeal to the heart because that’s the only way that we’re going to shift the consciousness of people to protect the planet.”