Release Date: June 1st, 2005 (NYC-Film Forum).
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary by Werner Herzog about the Jungle Airship, which was engineered by Dr.Graham Dorrington and courageously flown into the jungles of Guyana.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The design and engineering of the Jungle Airship is very interesting. It seems simple at first, especially given the small size of the airship, but it is truly the work of an inventive genius--although an eccentric, stubborn, and sensitive one. This genius is none other than Dr.Graham Dorrington, who clearly worked very hard to engineer the ship and make sure that it safe. There is one very suspenseful moment as the airship is tested for the first time, ends up having technical difficulties, and is forced to land. What truly makes this endeavor horrifying is that over a decade earlier, Dr.Dorrington witnessed his friend's horrific death from in a similar situation. Fortunately, history does not always repeat itself. There is also a little mystery added when a giant, powerful waterfall is shown with a cave behind it that has never been explored before. Werner Herzog is a very talented director who not only knows how to film within the action and make it exciting, but also to show beautiful cinematography. For example, there is one scene that is shown as it is reflected off a drop of water--yes a tiny drop of water. Another breathtaking scene is when a continuous swarm of small birds fly behind the waterfall into the mysterious darkness of the cave.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Surprisingly, there actually is some drama within this documentary. As Dr.Dorrington's initial test run of the airship fails, he admits he is depressed as if he wants to give up. However, he gradually regains his confidence and admits that he simply cannot give up. His courage is very inspiring and rewarding because in the second try, he learns from his mistakes and succeeds. It is heartwarming to hear one of the men from the village imagining what it would be like to fly the airship to his very distant family by landing on their roof. By the end what really makes one think, though, is what could possibly be in that mysterious cave behind the waterfall. I challenge Werner Herzog to make a documentary about this mysterious cave and perhaps finally uncover what lies within it.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very interesting documentary with beautiful cinematography and a surprising combination of suspense, mystery, and even drama.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "W" Menu