Glorious deserts and towering redwoods. Quiet canyons and daredevil climbers ascending ridiculous pillars of stone. Fierce grizzlies and adorable prairie dogs.
The United States is blessed with perhaps the most diverse geographical variety on the planet. Luckily for them, and for us, they also had the foresight 100 years ago to create a national parks service to preserve these natural wonders forever.
Canadians and folks from around the world can visit fantastic parks from Hawaii to California to Maine and beyond. And now, thanks to a new film, Canadians will get a chance this summer to see a remarkable, immersive film that highlights some of the great sights you can see south of the border.
Titled America Wild: National Parks Adventure, the film, narrated by Robert Redford, provides a 43-minute look at everything from the wonders of the Grand Canyon to ice climbers on the Great Lakes. Unlike some sonorous and overly reverential nature films, this one features a road trip taken by a trio of audacious explorers; mountain climber and outdoorsman Conrad Anker, family friend Max Lowe and Montana-born outdoors lover and climber extraordinaire Rachel Pohl. They’re seen climbing the outrageous Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and riding bikes on ancient rock in the American Southwest, as well as other spots in the U.S. National Parks system.
The film starts July 1 and runs until Sept. 5 at cities across Canada with large or IMAX screens. Cities showing the movie include Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Regina, Sudbury, Montreal and Quebec City. The film will be in French and English in Montreal and in French in Quebec City.
It’s fun and cheeky, which is great to see. Also fun are snippets of home movies filmed at various U.S. National Parks over the years, including bears climbing over vintage Ford Mustangs from the 1960’s and little girls dancing next to a sign for Sequoia National Park in California. Just delightful.
They used hundreds of hours of footage shot by hand or from helicopters to come up with the 43 minutes of film. You’ll glide over the top of rock spires in the Grand Canyon, hover over moist redwood forests in California, gaze at wondrous cathedrals of ice near Lake Michigan in winter and roll through the Florida Everglades.
“America Wild captures the stunning beauty of America’s wild places and reminds us these landscapes are an essential part of the human spirit,” said Redford.
The movie was filmed in more than 30 of America’s national parks and captured with special IMAX cameras.
“People from all over the world come to experience the wonders of nature in America’s national parks, which really belong to all of humanity,” said two-time Academy Award-nominated director Greg MacGillivray. “Our hope is that America Wild will encourage our audiences to discover the beauty and sanctuary of these American treasures, and to go out and explore their own parks and outdoor spaces, wherever they may be.”
The IMAX theatre they showed the movie on in Toronto on Tuesday night (at the Ontario Science Centre) was a rounded affair, and the way they shot the movie puts the audience right in the middle of the action. It feels like you’re para-gliding over the Grand Canyon in parts of the film, and when the trio of explorers ride their bikes over canyon walls you might even feel dizzy.
All in all, it’s a remarkable achievement. As was the inspiration for the U.S. National Parks Service, which came about in large part from the efforts by naturalist John Muir and former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, to whom the world owes a huge and hearty handshake.
America Wild: National Parks Adventure is a MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with Brand USA and presented globally by Expedia, Inc. and Subaru of America, Inc. with major support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium. Air Canada was a partner for last night’s show in Toronto as the airline serves more than 50 U.S. destinations with 240 flights a day from Canada.
For ticket and show time information, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca. From July 1 to September 5, tickets for all films showing at the Ontario Science Centre will be $9.
For more information about the film, please visit www.NationalParksAdventure.com.