Susan Granger's review of "Coral Reef Adventure"
Published 5:25 pm, Tuesday, September 20, 2011
At the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, you can submerge into the warm, tropical water of the South Pacific for a fascinating subterranean adventure, narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring familiar, toe-tapping tunes by Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Often called "the rain forests of the sea," coral reefs have thrived around the world for 60 million years. Yet 75% of their diverse ecosystems are now threatened by pollution, over-fishing, careless logging, silt runoff and global warming. So husband-and-wife filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall teamed up with Fijian diver Rusi Vulakoro and scientists Jean-Michael Cousteau and Richard Pyle to document this destruction and try to do something about it, because it's estimated that -- within 30 years -- coral reefs may vanish entirely.
Australia's magnificent Great Barrier Reef is protected and, as such, it's thriving with astounding examples of marine diversity, including giant clams and huge potato cod. But in Fiji, the soft coral capital of the world, many of the reefs are desolate and dying -- with one lone octopus scrounging for morsels among the bleached-out rubble. Noting, "Observation is the first step in science," camera-carrying divers are determined to document why.
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Aside from donning scuba gear, there's no better way to visually explore a reef-scape than through the spectacular IMAX lens, particularly when CSN's "Our House" accompanies a shrimp and a Gobe fish in symbiotic harmony or when an intrepid marine biologist opens her mouth so a shrimp-like sea creature, whose mission it is to scrub the teeth of larger fish, can crawl in. There's dazzling diversity under the seas -- and it's awesome to see a school of 300 gray reef sharks swarming in a deep canyon off the Rangiroa atoll inTahiti.
MacGillivray Freeman Films, based on the Pacific Coast Highway near Laguna Beach, specializes in IMAX films that demonstrate their concern about the ocean and its inhabitants.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Coral Reef Adventure" is an educational, stimulating 6, hopefully encouraging environmental support on behalf of the world's endangered reefs. For show schedules, call (203) 852-0700 or visit www.MaritimeAquarium.org.