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SOLARMAX

SYNOPSIS:
Australia’s John Weiley shoots the Sun with a huge camera: a spectacular and historic doco on the giant screen about mankind’s relationship with our dangerous and beautiful life-giving star. 


Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It’s a big subject and it belongs on the big screen – and who better than John Weiley of Antarctica fame to capture the drama and the beauty of this heavenly body. Indeed, it was during the making of Antarctica that the idea for a solar movie was born. Among the many visual pleasures of Solarmax is a series of sequences showing the borealis – the mysterious lights that dance on top and below the earth at the poles. 

The title of the film refer to the event in which the sun switches magnetic poles; this happens (usually) every 11 years, a cataclysmic, violent time in which the sun spews energy at an incalculatable rate. And that’s saying something, since a single eruption (and there are thousands every hour) releases more energy than the earth uses in a million years.

We catch glimpses of how early man learnt about the sun for agricultural reasons, how that fed into his spiritual needs, how Galileo was denounced by the Inquisition for daring to suggest the sun, not the earth, was the central player in our universe, and how we now observe the sun through amazing telescopes that give us close ups never before possible.

None of this is dull, nor is it made to seem like a lesson. Buoyed and driven by the visceral power of Nigel Westlake’s swirling orchestral, multi-textured score, Solarmax is engaging and exciting – and eminently accessible for anyone with the faintest interest in our universe.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SOLARMAX (G)
(Aus)

CAST: Narrator Alex Scott

PRODUCER: Robert Eather, John Weiley

DIRECTOR: John Weiley

SCRIPT: John Weiley

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tom Cowan, Tristan Milani, Robert Eather, Paul Ree

EDITOR: Nicholas Holmes, James Sdrinis

MUSIC: Nigel Westlake

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne: March 18, 2004; Sydney: March 25, 2004







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