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FORCES OF NATURE

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The opening screen announcing that this IMAX documentary about Mother Nature's destructive acts -- specifically, volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes -- is presented by Amica Insurance casts a distracting shadow. As George Casey turns his large-format cameras upon a handful of scientists working feverishly to predict the unpredictable, one can almost hear the off-screen mutterings of re-calculating actuaries. (And the narrative doesn't cop to the fact that man -- today more than ever -- has willfully placed himself in harm's way.) The capriciousness of nature and the less-than-nimble equipment needed to film in 70 mm means that much of this 40-minute film comprises attractive filler material, such as aerial shots of Istanbul and digitally simulated forays inside the earth's core. But when the fates align, and Casey's crew captures the Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat blowing its top, the images are stunning and awe-inspiring. Carnegie Science Center

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