Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Living in the Age of Airplanes", Imax film takes you round the world for a movie ticket

The IMAX short “Living in the Age of Airplanes” rather reminds me of the 1956 feature “Cinerama Holiday”, that latter filmed when commercial flying was established but still a luxury.  In fact, in that later film, I almost became motion sick as it opened on the Antarctic (the rollercoaster in “This Is Cinerama” never bothered me).
The new film, by Brian J. Terwilliger and narrated by Harrison Ford, makes the case that personal mobility is a recent development in historical context. In ancient times, people walked and typically didn’t go more than 20 miles from home. Well, there were chariots and ships even in ancient times, which is one reason the Mediterranean was a center of civilization.
The development of the internal combustion engine (steam) in the 19th century led to trains, and later to cars.  The first passenger flight didn’t happen until 1908 (look at the Burns and McDowell timeline here ).
The film does visit all seven continents.  I can list the most interesting shots.  One was the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, with the little island where SLDN held a big benefit in 2000 (which I attended).  Another was a Kenyan Airlines takeoff, over the Serengeti and then Kilimanjaro. Then the Iguazu Falls in Brazil follows, and Ayers Rock in Australia. 
The most interesting shot may be much of the island country of Maldives, with the unusual housing on the beaches, as the documentary explains the seaplane.
It will also visit the South Pole, and the “end of the Earth” in Patagonia. The film makes a lot of international flower shipments, tracing one from Kenya to Alaska, arriving in three days, with ten days of “beauty” left.
Before the age of the Internet, the possibility of efficient air travel was an important strategy of my personal “reach”, somewhat threatened by oil shocks in the 1970s. 
The official site is here. (National Geographic).  The film now shows at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington.  The film is like that of the 50s board game “Star Reporter”, where air travel was made instantaneous.  Will worm holes provide us with new modes of travel in the future?  Maybe only going one way.
So next time, don't complain so much about leg room and TSA hassles, but marvel in the personal capability flying gives you. 
Wikipedia attribution link island resort in Maldives, picture by Frederic Ducarme, under Creative Commons Share Alike 4.0 International License. 

Second picture is Lake Michigan (mine, 2011 flight to Minneapolis).  

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