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Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren (The Queen) takes the viewer on a tour de force that explores the mystery and mystique of Arabia. Breathtaking cinematography illuminates graceful deserts and brilliant skies…and in a series of stunning time-lapse images, you have suddenly joined the Hajj: a pilgrimage known as the largest single human gathering on Earth. Investigate tombs, coral reefs, shipwrecks, lost cities, trade routes long forgotten: ancient civilizations of incomparable beauty.
The film follows Arabian film student, Hamzah Jamjoom, as he returns to his home country of Saudi Arabia to create a film on his native culture. Shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, Hamzah's journey focuses mainly on its two Golden Ages -- the first a golden age of wealth and the second of knowledge. These Imax films are always something to be behold visually but some times their short runtime just isn't enough to give a complete story and this is one that does suffer from it. The film doesn't really go deep enough into the history and as a result parts are more confusing than they are educational.
Actress Helen Mirren does a good job at narrating the film and visually it's amazing and so beautiful to look at, I did not see the 3D version of the film but I can guess it made the animated parts a bit better but I'm not sure it was really needed in a film such as this one compared to other MacGillivray Freeman Films. "Arabia" gives viewers a look at the historical and modern side of life in this beautiful country, it never brings up the tensions behind the Middle East and Westerners but then again there really isn't a place or it here.
The film acts like a travelog of sorts and it does a great job at doing so. If you enjoy these kind of documentaries then I highly suggest picking this one up as well, the film might come up a bit short story wise but it is a joy to look at and most people are going to walk away from it with some knowledge of Arabia's past and present.
Photographed in 15/70 (65mm) and transferred at up to 8K resolution, MacGillivray Freeman’s Arabia comes with the following special features:
Featurette - The Making Of
The MacGillivray Freeman History
Released by Image Entertainment
*** 1/2 Out Of *****