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Living in the Age of Airplanes (Blu-ray Review)

9 Dec, 2016 By: John Latchem

National Geographic
$24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray
Not rated
Narrated by Harrison Ford.

This engrossing documentary isn’t really about any particular type of airplane. Rather, it’s more of a statement about how much we take for granted the fact that airplanes even exist.

As avid aviator Harrison Ford points out in his excellent narration, we may as well be living in an age of science-fiction, with all the technological marvels at our fingertips, none more so revolutionary than the airplane — a monument to physics we watch fly by without giving it a second thought.

Perhaps the most staggering point made in the documentary is one that really puts the impact of aviation in the context of human history: It took our ancestors 10,000 years to migrate from Africa to South America, but with the airplane, a technology at our disposal for a bit more than a century, we can make the same trip in a day.

The film isn’t so much a showcase of what airplanes can do as it is a collection of scenes that provide examples of the impact of flight on human civilization — the ability to visit varying landscapes around the world in s short period of time, or to take advantage of global commerce.

Living in the Age of Airplanes was created for exhibition at Imax theaters, so the photography is expectedly beautiful, none more amazing than some time-lapsed images of planes flying into and out of big cities, like fireflies buzzing through the night. There’s a featurette on the Blu-ray that details how visual effects were used to enhance certain scenes, including the creation of an astonishing view of Earth that really encapsulates how ubiquitous air travel has become on our planet.

The Blu-ray also includes more than an hour of additional material.

In addition to the Harrison Ford connection, the other big selling point of the movie is the terrific music by James Horner, another aviation enthusiast. Horner was unfortunately killed last year piloting his private plane, so this movie represents one of his last scores.

About the Author: John Latchem

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