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Macgillivray Freeman Films - The Big Picture Collection (Large Format)

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Description

Five fascinating large-screen IMAX format films, each with extensive behind-the-scenes "making of" footage, in one box! "The Discoverers" (1994, 72 min.) - From the earliest voyages that mapped the Earth to today's launches into space, this film examines our desire to expand the boundaries of knowledge. "Dolphins" (2000, 77 min.) - Brimming with details about the complex lives of these fascinating animals, this ocean adventure film takes you into the very heart of the world of Dolphins. "The Living Sea" (1995, 77 min.) - Come face to face with life-sized humpback whales, thousands of golden jellyfish and giant clams. Go 3,000 feet down to view strange creatures which live where sunlight never penetrates deep down. "The Magic of Flight" (1996, 81 min.) - Relive the first flight of the Wright Brothers, soar with the world-famous Blue Angels and more in this technological thrill ride with some of the most amazing airborne footage ever captured on film. "Stormchasers" (1995, 67 min.) - Join storm-chasing meteorologists who put themselves in the heart of extreme weather conditions--hurricanes, monsoons, and tornadoes--in order to understand how they form.

This The Big Picture Box contains five IMAX documentaries:

The Discoverers
Originally filmed in IMAX format, The Discoverers features some astoundingly spectacular footage all centering around the act of discovery. The story of the great navigator Ferdinand Magellan's search for a passage to the Pacific is presented with film of spectacular sunsets and scenery, and a visit to a re-creation of Sir Isaac Newton's laboratory while he refracts light with lamps and prisms is equally beautiful. The various vignettes, which range from a child and her father discovering paintings of bison painted on cave ceilings thousands of years ago to a scientist on a team analyzing data sent back from a probe sent to the planet Venus, don't proceed in a linear path. But that's the whole idea. The production was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin, and the goal was to put the viewer alongside those who explore the unknown as they experience the joyous moments of discovery. There is some serious science presented in the course of the film, but fear not, it's all done in a highly entertaining manner. Simply sit back and immerse yourself in the utterly gorgeous cinematography. --Robert J. McNamara

The Living Sea
The films from IMAX have come to be known for their cutting-edge cinematography. They don't disappoint with The Living Sea, an Academy Award-nominated documentary exploring exotic marine locales. Using dizzying aerial and time-lapse footage, they provide underwater imagery usually accessible only while wearing fins and a mask. From heavy-surf Coast Guard drills off the coast of Oregon to jellyfish in Palau to North Atlantic humpback whales, veteran IMAX cameraman and director Greg MacGillivray takes viewers on a vivid journey into some of the world's most breathtaking environments and shows us some of the rarest and strangest marine life. Ten years from conception to finished product, this documentary's intended message is the importance of protecting the "world ocean" by displaying its wild beauty and diversity.

The Living Sea does an excellent job of showcasing the more visually satisfying aspects of the sea (standout footage includes schools of jellyfish performing a graceful migratory dance and a giant cuttlefish changing brilliant colors for the purpose of camouflage), although ultimately it fails to shed much light on the hows, whys, and urgency of marine conservation. However, despite the short running time (unfortunately characteristic of IMAX productions) and a soundtrack that only true Sting fans will fully appreciate, this film proves to be a remarkable treat for the eyes and is sure to elicit heartfelt oohs and aahs from anyone who loves the sea. --Ed Noble

Believe it or not, an IMAX film can make the transition to video perfectly well. It might not be three stories tall, but Dolphins is still a lovely, larger-than-life exploration of these strangely intelligent creatures. Visit the Bahamas, Argentina, and beyond to see different varieties (like the graceful duskies) play and hunt. Pierce Brosnan's narration and Sting's music fill the water with sound and add counterpoint to the dolphin's shrill cries; the film is an overwhelming experience even in the living room. Two short features follow the main attraction: see behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Dolphins as the enormous IMAX camera follows the sleek, gorgeous beasts, and learn some hard facts about marine science including how dolphins fit into their complex environment and why their numbers are at risk. Few nature films bear repeat viewing as well as this one--new details leap out at the audience each time. --Rob Lightner

Magic of Flight
Fly with the U.S. Navy's elite Blue Angels demonstration squadron in the breathtaking documentary The Magic of Flight, which explains the basic principles of what enables airplanes (and birds) to fly, what creates lift, how planes maneuver, how planes land again. Going back to the Wright Brothers' experiments at Kitty Hawk, the documentary explores how the intrepid bicycle makers ruminated on the elements of flight for many an hour before even attempting to assemble their first aircraft. The Blue Angels put into action the discoveries made by the Wright Brothers, as they make their selections, train, and perform.

Pilots push their high-performance fighter planes through difficult but graceful maneuvers for amazed audiences, demonstrating where the state of the art really lies for 21st-century flying. For all the skills of the pilots, however, the most astonishing part of the video would have to be the camera work, with cameras mounted on the planes' bellies, noses, and cockpits to give an up-close view of what the machines are really capable of doing. Planes fly an arm's length apart during maneuvers where the slightest misstep would mean certain catastrophe. The Magic of Flight does indeed go a long way toward capturing the wonder of flying, with spectacular camera work, editing, and production. --Jerry Renshaw

The power of tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, and other severe weather serve as a reminder that, despite technological advances, there are elements of nature that still have us at their mercy. Stormchasers follows the meteorologists who put their lives in danger to chart and research severe storms. Scientists drive hundreds of miles per day to chase down tornadoes in the Midwest, lingering until the last possible second when they actually encounter a twister. Weather Service personnel send an airplane through the middle of Hurricane Emily, with everything that can be shaken loose inside the plane tethered down for the rough ride. The "making of" segment of Stormchasers documents the crew's hair-raising experiences as they placed themselves directly in the path of danger and doubted their own sanity for doing so. Interestingly, the filmmakers were forced to manufacture a monsoon when shooting in India; the results were convincing indeed. Originally shot in large format for IMAX theaters, Stormchasers gives the formation of menacing storms a beautifully lyrical quality and goes a long way toward explaining the weather phenomena that shape our lives. --Jerry Renshaw

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Steven K. Katona, Tom Selleck, Meryl Streep, Judith Connor, William Hamner
  • Directors: Bob Talbot, Greg MacGillivray, Jon Boorstin, Stephen Judson
  • Writers: Jon Boorstin, Daniel J. Boorstin, Jack Stephens, Mark Olshaker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Run Time: 387 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y2QJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,806 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Macgillivray Freeman Films - The Big Picture Collection (Large Format)" on IMDb

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Top Customer Reviews

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IMAX quality at its very best! These five masterpieces directed by MacGillivray are beautifully done documentaries that the whole family will certainly enjoy. The collection of DOLPHINS, THE LIVING SEA, THE MAGIC OF FLIGHT, STORMCHASERS, and THE DISCOVERERS provides something for everyone. If you enjoy nature, life and technology, you will love them all. Just as fabulous as each feature, each disc includes 'The Making of...' sequence that is as captivating than the feature itself! The many hours of filming to get the perfect shots are evident form the behind the scenes action. Many of the feature shots required technologic advances that had to be developed to capture the images. The commentary by Greg MacGillivray is both humorous and interesting. Other extras only add to the family value of this collection. I viewed this series on a 36 inch Sony 'WEGA' TV using the Onkyo DR-S2.0 DVD Receiver. DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound are both available on these discs. I have tried both and recommend the same, as there are differences in the audio. I have no particular preference as both are superior. The audio is simply spectacular with narrators like Selleck, Streep, Brosnan, and Holbrook. Especially spectacular is the music in The Living Sea that was provided by Sting. The music is worth playing alone!! The picture is 4:3 format with little artifact from the original film. While never being able to reproduce the Imax scale, these crisp, detailed images have more resoultion than you home screen can handle. A superior collection of extraordinary documentaries with many extras. Toddlers, teens, and adults will enjoy watching these discs and certainly these will be a treat on your home theater system.
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I guess it's now been a couple months ago, but I discovered a package of "Macgillivray Freeman Films - The Big Collection" on the bargain rack at a local Ross Store. Well, I snapped it up in an instant because I've seen a few IMAX films at my local IMAX Theater in the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (San Diego) and these things can be sensational. Of course, these DVDs are adapted to viewing in your wide-screen TV which can't even approach an IMAX theater, but they make for about the best TV viewing you can imagine. I gradually watched the films and reviewed them one at a time. This is now a review of the packet.

The photography in all of these films is just awesome. Even just on a TV. The colors are sharp and vivid and the sound is excellent. All of the films are interesting and you may well have a few favorites for whatever reason. I'd suggest that you start out with "The Discoverers." I think it's the weakest of the offerings, but it serves as the best introduction to the rest of the films. I did it in the opposite direction and then ended up disappointed with "The Discoverers." The rest of the films can be taken in any order depending on the interests of the viewers. My personal favorites were "Dolphins" and "The Magic of Flight." The collection is a set of films that the whole family can enjoy and my 3 1/2-year-old boy was completely enthralled by "The Magic of Flight." I've now played it for him close to a half dozen times. Go figure. I think he likes the being in the cockpit feeling and the swirling landscape. In any case, he also greatly enjoyed "The Dolphins" and "The Living Sea."

All of these films are fairly short, too short in my opinion.
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Hi, I'm from Argentina,this is a high quality product, the movies are very good, I recomend this product to anyone.I have a DLP and my family enjoyed the movies so much.
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Excellent product, fast shipping and fair price. Doesn't get any better!
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