It’s fitting to see a film about the epic Grand Canyon at the Science Museum’s Omnitheatre: Only a six-story screen can do justice to the sweeping vistas and dizzying rapid rides. Grand Canyon: River at Risk features the Colorado River as its main character. Viewers learn its history — from carving the canyon to the construction of Hoover Dam — and the danger it faces from the water demands of desert cities like Las Vegas. Robert Redford smoothly narrates and Bobby Kennedy’s environmentalist son Bobby Kennedy, Jr., guides viewers down the muddy river while highlighting Native American history and the changing face of the Grand Canyon landscape. Yet despite the epic scenery, it seems many of the recent Omnifilms have fallen victim to the same repetitive recipe: identify amazing natural resource/wonder (be it the Great Lakes, the Alps, or the Greek Isles, all topics of recent Omnifilms), describe how humans are destroying it, follow an expert who is working to revive said resource/wonder, then swirl to a conclusion while Sting/Dave Matthews/Queen play in the background. The blame for this most likely lies in the fact that the last few Omnifilms have all been produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films, and Omnifilm buffs may find that the formula feels tired. More casual viewers and pint-sized adventure lovers will, however, delight in the breathtaking story of how the canyon became grand.
Opens January 9