Images of sex, partial nudity and violence flash across the 66 by 90 foot screen. An athletic woman in a red bikini dives into crystal clear water. But the swimming beauty, Kathleen Dudzinski, isn't acting in your typical weekend thriller. In fact, she's not even an actress. Dudzinski is one of the scientists featured in the latest IMAX, Dolphins, now showing at the Johnson Theater at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
The real stars of the movie, however, aren't the team of scientists but the subjects they study: dolphins. Dolphins dives into the depths of their underwater world, bringing to light the little knowledge we have of this mysterious species. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, the film travels to exotic locales in an attempt to further understand the behaviors that dolphins exhibit. The film follows Dudzinski as she studies communication between dolphins, and discovers that their system of clicks, whistles, trills, moans and squeaks is actually a complex language, similar to the human language.
While the sex and violence comes from the dolphins, the partial nudity comes thanks to a Speedo-clad dolphin-lover, Dean Bernal. Bernal has been making daily visits to his dolphin friend, Jo Jo, for the past 15 years and the two have developed a relationship that manages to transcend the barriers created by their different species. Bernal's story is a touching addition to the film, preventing it from being overwhelmingly scientific.
Dolphins, directed and produced by Greg MacGillivray, features a soundtrack by Grammy-winning artist Sting. The Caribbean-themed music accents the dolphins' fluid movement, while giving the film a laid-back feel.
While the story is interesting, what makes this film really worthwhile is the beautiful cinematography. Shots of white sand beaches, turquoise water and palm trees are complimented by even more beautiful underwater scenes. Dolphins are acrobatic creatures able to defy the laws of physics and the cameras never fail to miss a jump, flip or spin.
From the soaring landscapes to the dizzying drops to the dolphins' in-your-face jumps, this IMAX is more than just a movie—it's an experience. The surround sound, large screen and incredible clarity contribute to the superiority of IMAX. Sure, it's $8 for a 40-minute film, but it's worth it.
Dolphins (40 minutes) is unrated. Movie times can be found at http://www.si.edu/imax/. The Natural History Museum is only a short walk from the Smithsonian Metro stop on the Blue and Orange Line. The museum's IMAX theater will be playing the film on Friday and Saturday nights.
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