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Amazon 3D Adventure review: science and history come to life in the jungle


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Set in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, IMAX 3D brings science and history lessons to life in a really unique way.


Image Credit: SK Films

3D films have become somewhat divisive over the more recent years - ultimately, they're an experience that audiences seem to either love or hate. Perhaps this is why I was slightly apprehensive upon entering the BFI IMAX theatre for this Amazon 3D adventure experience, based upon the true story of 19th Century explorer Henry Walter Bates. Bates' work in Brazil in the 1840s - a decade before the publication of The Origin of the Species - helped to shape the course of life as we know it, yet unlike Darwin hardly anyone knows his name.


Despite my initial reluctance, I found the film to be relatively enjoyable, the 3D IMAX effects only helping to add to the enjoyment rather than detract from it.


Image Credit: SK Films

The film follows the story of Bates and his partner and friend Alfred Wallace in their expedition to the Amazon to discover the scientific answers behind why species evolve and change. The film starts with Bates' poor childhood and his enduring love of nature, and follows as he and Wallace start out as intrepid explorers in their first expedition to the Amazon. The film follows Bates as he makes friends with the locals and begins his quest for scientific proof of evolution, which he believes can be found within the butterflies of the Amazon.

The film does a great job of cataloguing Bates' journeys and discoveries, and is able to adequately explain the concept of evolution for its younger audience members. For those hoping for a more-true life gritty-documentary, this is not what you are looking for. The concepts of evolution, as well as the science and history lessons found in the film, are basic and oversimplified, probably in the hope of keeping its young target audience invested. It won't be suited to anyone looking for an in-depth exploration of genetics and evolution.


Whilst the dialogue and acting may be a bit cheesy, the imagery and aesthetic of the film more than makes up for it. The film was shot entirely on location in the Amazon, and as a result the setting and scenery certainly do feel authentic.


Image Credit: SK Films

The choice to present the film in the massively immersive IMAX format really helps to bring the audience into the world of the Amazon. Through this film, you feel as if you can really see the world that Bates experienced nearly two centuries ago. The world of the jungle is filled with surprises and hidden wonders, and the 3D element is really able to clearly bring this experience to the audience.


Normally a 3D film and the big bulky glasses that come with it only serve to take away from the film’s total experience and bring you out of the immersive world of cinema. However, this was certainly not the case here. Despite my previous scepticism, I would gladly say I’d go back to the Amazon for another 3D adventure.


Amazon 3D Adventure will have its world premiere at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on April 18th.

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