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Greece gets IMAX treatment

One of the most relaxing travelogues in the IMAX library, with just enough information to inspire a little extra research.

By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic
Published February 16, 2006


MacGillivray Freeman Films

Greece gets IMAX treatment

Nia Vardalos narrates Greece: Secrets of the Past, so calling the IMAX documentary My Big Fat Wide Tall Greek Movie is tempting. The actor speaks with pride about the country of her ancestors, gorgeously photographed by the best in plus-sized cinema, two-time Oscar nominee MacGillivray Freeman Films.

The script's lessons of the history and resonance of Greek culture seldom advance beyond the language of travel agency brochures. Yet this is one of the most relaxing travelogues in the IMAX library, with just enough information to inspire a little extra research.

Vardalos briskly describes archaeologist Christos Doumas' research on ancient Greece, specifically the Bronze Age, when art and literature flourished and volcanoes shifted the landscape and population; and the Golden Age, when democracy, theater and architecture were born. Computer animation and costumed actors provide impressive visions of the eras - including "rebuilding" the Parthenon to its original majesty - and the timeless landscapes are breathtaking.

Clues to the past are found in shards of pottery and layers of volcanic ash. Intriguing topics such as the lost city of Atlantis get short shrift, but those are the time limitations of IMAX film, which is too heavy for projectors to spin more than 45 minutes on a reel. Greece: Secrets of the Past, at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, is a pleasantly informative experience. B+

- STEVE PERSALL, Times film critic

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