Documentary by MacGillivray Freeman Films
Narrator: Meryl Streep
Music: Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, others
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video: 1.78 for 16:9, reduced from IMAX original, 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DD 5.1, stereo
Extras: “Making Of” documentary, Short retrospective of MacGilllivray Freeman, Movie trivia quiz, Alligator facts, Trailers
Length: Feature: 42 Min.; Making Of: 32 min.
Another most worthy hi-def IMAX documentary. This one was actually nearly all shot and prepared prior to Katrina. They had even shot a scene showing a mock rescue of a family in a raging hurricane. The crew went back immediately after the disastrous hurricane and filmed where they could – there were no authorities around to get permissions. The production visits the heart of Louisiana – before, during and after the devastation. The original idea for the film was a call for the restoration of Louisiana’s wetlands – which offered protection from the ravages of hurricanes – a huge portion of which have been lost. Some of the reasons have been the building of dikes and of canals which bring salt water into the wetlands. Now the need to save the wetlands is more vital than ever.
Jazz, blues, zydeco and gospel music fuel the soundtrack of the film, as well as a good part of the story line. A teenage Cajun fiddler player is a prominent character, and she studies with New Orleans music master Allen Toussaint, who helps provide a rousing gospel conclusion to the film. Other music legends such as Fat Domino and Aaron Neville are heard on the soundtrack. One of the on-camera personalities is a Cajun fiddler and singer who is also a leader in the saving the wetlands effort. Some of the heart-wrenching stories about Katrina are also explored. I don’t think I appreciated just how awful the devastation was until viewing these IMAX scenes of the flooding. This is a most moving and educational documentary; and don’t miss the guy with the pet alligator.
– John Sunier