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BY Steven D. Greydanus
Journey Into Amazing Caves (2001) -Pick
Amazing Journeys (2002) -Pick
Seabiscuit (2003) -Pick
Cinderella Man (2005) -Pick
“Amazing Journey” with either of two 40-minute IMAX documentaries recently
released on DVD and/or Blu-ray.
Amazing Journeys, from
Razor Digital Entertainment, is a well-produced documentary short on animal
migration, from the monarch butterflies converging on sanctuaries in Mexico to
the massive caravans of zebra and wildebeest in Africa.
Part of what makes Amazing
Journeys different from similar material in Planet
Earth and other comprehensive series is the way it touches on the
interaction of humans with animal migration.
Most memorably, the annual Easter
Island parade of red hermit crabs traipses across golf courses and into
people’s homes; children step over boards set across the doorways of schools to
keep out the intruders and even play with the harmless crustaceans. In the
Pacific, whale watchers lean out of small boats hoping for migrating mama and
baby gray whales to come close enough to touch, and one orphaned calf is
rescued and nursed back to health at Sea World.
Journey Into Amazing Caves,
from Image Entertainment, is even more a story of human beings interacting with
the natural world. Amazing Caves is as
much a story of amazing cave divers as the caves themselves — spelunking
scientists who make daredevil forays into perilously unstable glacier caves and
unnervingly narrow subterranean waterways.
Why do they do it? For
microbiologist Hazel Barton, the lure is biodiversity — the hope of discovering
new extremophiles and other marginal life forms hidden from the world, some of
which may advance medical research and lead to curing diseases. For cave rescue
specialist Nancy Aulenbach, there’s also the allure of exploring remote
passages previously untouched by human beings. Breezy and informal, Amazing
Caves is narrated by Liam Neeson and scored by the Moody Blues.
Also recently released on Blu-ray
are a pair of inspiring Depression-era films about real-life comeback underdogs
who triumph over crippling injuries, inspiring a nation of down-on-their-luck
Cinderella Man stars
Russell Crowe as boxer Jimmy Braddock, a down-and-out but honorable boxer who
battles his way back to provide for his family. Noteworthy scenes include a
positive depiction of a priest and his parishioners gathered around a radio
during the climactic fight praying for their hero.
Seabiscuit tells the
story of an injured thoroughbred nursed back to take on bigger and better-bred
horses. Other than one unfortunate scene set in a brothel, it’s uplifting
CONTENT ADVISORY: Amazing Journeys: Some graphic scenes of predation; brief account
of superstitious notions in connection with the Mexican “Day of the Dead.”
Generally fine family viewing. Journey Into Amazing Caves:
Nothing problematic. Fine family viewing. Cinderella Man: Much brutal pugilism violence; recurring profanity; mild sensuality; a
couple of sleazy taunts. Might be okay for older teens. Seabiscuit: A brothel sequence with some comically intended
lewd behavior and a bedroom scene (no explicit nudity); remarriage after
divorce; implied induced vomiting for weight loss; crude language and
profanity; sports-related violence and injuries. Mature viewing.