18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A well done traditional view of wildness,
This review is from: The National Parks: America's Best Idea (DVD)
Ken Burns took the traditional approach with the first two episodes, but there may indeed be variety to come. I think what some of the other reviewers are saying is that "this has been done before", but never quite as well. As a fan of slow paced, thoughtful and thought provoking scenes, we are definitely treated to many of those. At times the content of the narrative is distracting from the images, it takes a lot of concentration to absorb both at once. And the music, some of which is so compelling you wish the narrator would keep quiet for awhile (an L A times reviewer tongue-in-cheek remarked recently "fiddle and banjo music should be banned from documentaries for the next 5 years", mostly, I think, because it can be so distracting). But what's the hurry, and what's wrong with making people think a little bit?
I must also confess that I have worked for the National Park Service for more than 25 years and done some "evening programs" with exactly the same themes depicted in the film. The live "campfire talk" will never be replaced by video (I hope), but watching the first two episodes I figure I should have let Ken Burns do it.
The reviewer who called this "the history of John Muir" has a point. It seems like at least 1/4 of the time of the first two shows was dedicated to his life and contributions. Incidentally, the great nature photographer and cinematographer DeWitt Jones produced a film in the early 1970s called "John Muir's High Sierra" which was every bit as professional and beautiful as the Ken Burns version just seen, possibly more so even without Lee Stetson's portrayal of the character. I wonder if Burns ever saw it? It is good to be reminded of those heady times of protest and nature-lovers, which is partly what the re-telling of Muir's story does for me. I hope there are many more of those times to come soon.