Film review: ‘AUSTRALIA: WILD TOP END 3D’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

Australia: Wild Top End 3D is a typically brief but superb IMAX documentary celebrating the stunning environment and remarkable wild life of Northern Australia.

Written and directed by Emmy-nominated (for Life on the Reef) cinematographer Nicholas Robinson and narrated by the sadly departed indigenous elder and actor, Balang T.E. Lewis (The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith), the film follows the life of a crocodile named Jasper as he makes his astonishingly vast migration from the Kimberly to Kakadu rainforest through Queensland’s Cape York to the Great Barrier Reef. His odyssey provides us with a panorama of astonishing landscapes including towering cliffs diagonally eroded by aeons of wind and water and steamy rainforests that date back to dawn of life.

Nick Robinson and fellow cinematographer Casper Mazzotti make terrific use of the IMAX format and 3D to give these amazing vistas awesome depth and dimension.

The film also features a wonderful array of native critters including cute marsupials, predatory eagles, vividly coloured snakes and rare frogs. While mostly child-friendly and devoid of nature’s inevitable brutality, the film offers some tense moments as biologists make fascinating if treacherous journeys into the snake and crocodile infested rainforest at night to find tiny frogs.

Through the film’s exploration of top-end wildlife and ecosystems, Balang T.E. Lewis connects the diverse and stunning landscape to Indigenous lore and dreamtime stories emphasising the harmony between the land and Australia’s first people.

As with all IMAX documentaries it ends too soon but the visual feast on offer here is well worth it.

Nick’s rating: ****

Genre: Documentary.

Classification: CTC.

Director(s): Nicholas Robinson.

Release date: 12th Aug 2019.

Running time: 45 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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