Although I had been to Alaska and that was in the middle of winter (Jan. 2004) to Coldfoot for northern lights viewing, the Alaska I had envisioned and seen is very different from the one that everyone clamors for. Alaska I’ve been told by a traveler I met in Antarctica, is a place of serenity and wonderment. It is a place he could have settled down in.
The Alaska I ventured to was wild, freezing and a land of the ice! Dog-sledging was the activity of the day and northern lights viewing, the night. I doubt if I'd go back to Coldfoot and the surrounding area again in my life!
At the start of this documentary, I am brought back to the flight I took out of Coldfoot to Fairbanks. It was somewhat similar to the flight over Antarctica, except it was then in the North Pole. Massive snowfall and ice, a landscape of no-man’s land. It is as if the planet has frozen in time. Very hostile for living organisms and yet utterly beautiful in its isolation. I can then imagine how beautiful this land will be in its summer heydays.
That beauty is now brought to me in my living room through the Blu-ray disc of Alaska: Spirit of the Wild which was originally filmed for IMAX. This is what most travelers would like to see… bears, beavers, lakes with reflective mountain peaks and numerous lakes. Did you know Alaska has 3 million lakes? I didn’t know that! Oh, wow!
Bears (brown, black, polar), fox, sea lions, whales, salmons, elks, bison, caribous and wolves are but some of the many animals found in the Alaskan massive landscapes. Hunting of whales (which is sanctioned by international laws) by Eskimos were also filmed and shared.
This reminds me of National Geographic production. One also gets to see humpback whales in their full glory, lots of excellent shots of them above the sea and great narratives about their feeding behaviors. Very educational for children and sea lovers! There are so many whales I wonder how long it took them to spot them and got them down in films!
On land, polar bears are mischievously filmed and it’s a delightful sight to see them in their natural dwellings in the midst of winter when they most thrived. Prey and predators behaviors are carefully documented and nothing is spared from the harshness of the life cycle and food chain. The fittest survive!
This is a documentary rich in history, nature, animal kingdom and life in Alaska. As the warm season approaches, it’s time for us to emerge from our “hibernation” and explore Alaska once more. Let’s go crab-fishing and rediscover the wonders of the wild! Oh darn, I’m itching for a trip!
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Alaska: Spirit of the Wild is a 70mm Academy Award-nominated Americandocumentary film featuring the landscape and wildlife of Alaska. It is narrated by Charlton Heston and released to IMAX theaters in 1997.
Alaskan wildlife featured in the film include moose, bears, seals, wolves,caribou, and whales, while narrator Heston provides background information. The film was produced by the same IMAX filmmaking team that created Africa: The Serengeti. Similar shots of vast landscapes, which are particularly well suited for IMAX's large screen theaters, and entertaining wildlife footage is featured. Aerial photography and underwater photographytechniques are utilized throughout the production.
It has been well received by critics and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1998.