Great Bear Rainforest (IMAX 3D) – Film Review

Take a trip far up north for a totally immersive cinema experience in one of the planet’s best kept secrets – the Great Bear Rainforest – and discover a thriving ecosystem and its many inhabitants in Ian McAllister’s beautiful documentary screened in mind-blowing IMAX 3D.

The Great Bear Rainforest, also known as the Central and North Coast forest, is the world’s largest tract of unspoiled temperate rainforest, covering 6.4 million hectares off the north east coast of British Columbia, Canada. An incredible natural wonder comprised of islands, fjords and towering mountain peaks, the Great Bear Rainforest is a massively diverse ecosystem that sits squarely in a weather transition zone, pulling warm winds from the west and cooler winds from the east to create a variety of weather effects that provide unique nutrients to the coastal waters. These unique nutrients are then brought to the water surface, directly feeding and cultivating a lush habitat for the vast variation of marine and plant life found along the coast.

Perhaps the biggest draw to the Great Bear Rainforest, however, is its three species of bears; the grizzly, the American black bear, and a rare subspecies of the black bear – the milky white Kermode (Spirit) bear. Home to First Nations peoples for more than 11,000 years, the Great Bear Rainforest and its flora and fauna hold a place of great significance in the histories, identities, and spiritual beliefs of the nation’s 26 distinct Aboriginal communities. In partnership with the Government of British Columbia, the First Nations peoples of this region work tirelessly to observe and protect the land for their culture and the benefit of future generations.

Narrated by Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynolds, Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear is deliciously engaging from start to finish. With Canada’s natural beauty on full display and Reynolds’ witty quips and golden tone, everything about McAllister’s documentary feels both sophisticated and approachable – visually engaging for children and adults of all ages and filled to the brim with easy-to-digest factoids and information.

McAllister even enlists the help of local First Nations conservationist groups to tell the stories of the land and its creatures, emphasising the relationship between nature and indigenous communities, and the importance of maintaining their historic ways of life. All of this, in conjunction with the incredible IMAX 3D experience, makes for a fully immersive body of work that leaves you feeling as though, for that brief hour, you were transported half a world away.

With his documentary, Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear, McAllister and his crew take audiences on a journey, guided by Reynolds’ naturally charismatic commentary, over the high peaks and through low valleys of this stunning Canadian coast, opening a gateway for viewers to witness the true interconnectedness of nature.

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear can be seen at Melbourne’s IMAX theatre from January 1st.

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