See national parks on the big, big screen
A new IMAX movie stars geysers and red rock canyons. It stars mountaintops and redwood forests.
It is called "National Parks Adventure." The film celebrates the beauty and thrills of America's parks. It's part of a yearlong celebration. It marks the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.
The movie was filmed over nine months. Thirty national parks can be seen. They include Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, the Grand Tetons and Death Valley.
"Over 100 years ago these treasured places were protected for eternity for everyone. And the national parks were born," intones the narrator. He is the actor Robert Redford. He adds that, "Utah has 13 national park locations. Which is precisely why I choose to live here."
There is plenty of footage of beautiful places and wildlife. But the film is much more than a series of scenic wonders. It also showcases some heart-thumping adventures. They are undertaken by the trio featured in the film. The three are the real-life world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, his stepson adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl.
In one scene, they scale a seemingly sheer spire. It is at Arches National Park in Utah. In another, they climb frozen waterfalls at Pictured Rocks National Seashore. It is on Lake Superior in Michigan.
There's also footage of whitewater rafting through the Colorado River's raging waters. This is along the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In between, the trio is shown planning their trip. They are seen camping out. They are also seen driving empty roads. A soundtrack plays songs. They range from the Lumineers to Bruce Springsteen.
The film's focus is on adventure. It's not all beauty and history. The film is a way of furthering the National Park Service's efforts to attract millennials. In fact, Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said that bringing more 18- to 35-year-olds to national parks is one of the goals. The idea is to "connect with the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates," he said.
One of the film's most thrilling scenes shows mountain bikers. They are in Moab, Utah. The bikers ride on a challenging trail called Slickrock at Bartlett, Wash. It is on Bureau of Land Management property outside Arches National Park.
The bikers zoom along sandstone precipices at breathtaking speeds. And they fly their bikes through the air. In one shot, a helmeted biker crashes. But the rider quickly recovers.
The scene has gotten a bit of attention. That's because the National Park Service only allows biking on roads and designated areas in parks. A regional spokesman for the park service, Rick Frost, said the agency was OK with the scene. Redford's narration "makes it clear that it's not taking place" inside national park boundaries.
The movie opened globally Feb. 12. Most showings will be in museum theaters and science centers. It's directed by Greg MacGillivray and produced by Shaun MacGillivray. They are in partnership with Brand USA, Expedia and Subaru. The filmmakers worked in five units. Those included an aerial crew and a time-lapse crew. They shot nearly 15 hours of film for the 43-minute finished product.
The film cost $12.5 million to make. The film is expected to make $6.6 million. There is also the potential for more from ticket sales, according to Brand USA.