Journey to the South Pacific is a love letter to one of the most beautiful spots on Planet Earth: Papua, New Guinea in the South Pacific. The water is sparkling blue there, as you see in glorious 3D IMAX splendor, and the marine life really seem to come to life on screen as you get to take the trip of a lifetime, if only virtually.
The film is the work of Director Greg MacGillvray, a veteran of many IMAX films, including the seminal To Fly, which I saw at the National Air & Space Museum back in 1977. For Journey to the South Pacific, he took a crew and 4 giant IMAX cameras on the 65-hour trek to West Papua in order to showcase the crucial ecological work being done by the people of Papua on the ship the Kalabia, a pioneering “floating classroom” designed to show children how to protect their reefs and waters from overfishing and pollution.
The visuals are gorgeous, and at times unbelievably breathtaking, like in the sequence when Jawi, the 13-year-old boy who’s at the heart of the film, swims with a group of whale sharks while they feed. It’s probably the first time cameras have captured such an event, and it was worth the price of admission right there.
But there’s so much more to recommend the film, including footage of a 500-pound Leatherback Turtle laying her eggs in the sand on a beach she had swum 6,000 miles to reach, or the music of the film, which showcases songs and sounds from the South Pacific itself.
Journey to the South Pacific is rated G and is now playing in select theaters.