The great big hole in Arizona is also the topic for the new IMAX documentary, "Grand Canyon A River at Risk," produced by the environmentally conscious filmmakers; MacGillivray Freeman Films. Narrated by bleeding heart liberal Robert Redford and a cameo appearance by Roberk Kennedy Junior, one would expect another attack on the Republican Party's environmental politics. Unlike Al Gore’s negative documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," "Grand Canyon A River at Risk" is a science film with a positive message about conserving.
While the vistas of the Grand Canyon are breath taking on the 60 foot IMAX screen at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery, "A River at Risk" is the star of this movie. Author and anthropologist Wade Davis and his daughter, Tara, ride the entire length of the Colorado River with Kennedy and his daughter, Kick. Taking canoes, kayaks and rubber floatation devices, the intrepid explorers partake in a weekend camping trip fraught with thrills, spills and some potential hazards. At one point, the boats that are carrying the Davis and the Kennedy family, crash into each other. One is reminded about the tragic Kennedy legacy involving car crashes and H2o.
Fortunataly, the families are guided by Shana Watahomigie, a National Park ranger. A member of the Havasupi tribe, Watahomigie is the first Native American Indian to become a ranger. Her quiet leadership and constant smile allows the viewer to enjoy the rapid ride down the Colardo River.
"Grand Canyon A River at Risk" provides a lesson in South Western American history. We see the 3-dimension photos taken by John Wesley Powell in 1872 anno domini. MacGillivray Freeman Films then contrasts the photos with the Colorado River in the early 21st century. In some cases, not much has changed in over a hundred years, but upon closer expect ion, one sees new vegetation that is over running the indigenous vegetation of the Colorado River. For a river that use to over flow with fish, beaver and otters, the shoreline is being replaced with rattlesnakes and gila monsters.
The damming of the rivers is blamed for the over use of the water supply. One is presented the Hoover Dam, a marvel of ingenuity that was constructed during the early days of FDR's Aministration. The water is used to supply the population of Las Vegas, a tourist trap that did not exist over seventy years ago.
"Grand Canyon A River at Risk" is not full of doom and gloom. The film will make a great field trip for public school educators and their students. Unlike the electronic slide show of "An Inconvient Truth," "Grand Canyon A River at Risk" presents a positive message that displays the beauty and grandeur of our planet. Happy Easter!