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Image Entertainment presents
Grand Canyon National Park (1995)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: March 13, 2002

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:59m:08s
Release Date: February 19, 2002
UPC: 014381114720
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+B+ D-

DVD Review

Situated in northwestern Arizona, and attracting over 5 million visitors annually, Grand Canyon National Park is part of the grand circle, which also includes Utah's Bryce & Zion National Parks. First established as a Wildlife Refuge in 1906, an Act of Congress made it a National Park in 1919. Covering over 1.2 million acres, the canyon is one of the most impressive examples of erosion on the globe, and while not the deepest, is notable for its incredible size. The spectacular landscape is a fascinating geological history, with areas of the lower canyon dating back 2000 million years to the Precambrian era. Among its varied composition are layers of shale, sandstone, and limestone, laced with minerals which give it its diverse coloration, from pastel lavenders, to rich reds and oranges.

The canyon itself is a relatively new development in geological terms, only within the last five or six million years, as the area it occupies has at times been covered by an inland sea. The mighty Colorado River carved this vast canyon, with the differences in its rock foundation creating everything from sheer, plummeting cliffs to gentle slopes. A vertical mile deep at the South Rim, it drops another 1000 feet at its deepest point. The climate also varies in the canyon, with temperature differences of up to 30° F from the rim, where blue spruce and pine exist, to the arid canyon floor, where cacti are more common.

For park visitors, there are several popular activities, a few of which are covered in this presentation. The seven mile descent to the canyon floor by mule is a two day excursion, while rafting the waters of the Colorado can take up to a week. Aerial tours by helicopter or plane are also available. As we begin our discovery of the park, we see the canyon emerge beneath skies painted in crimson and amber. Airborne, we feel the rush as the ground drops out from beneath us as we fly out over the canyon wall.

The canyon houses a diverse collection of fauna. Mule deer forage in the scrub, the winter pines, or the grassways of the Grand Canyon Railroad. Antelope, rabbits, squirrels and grouse live on the rim, while lizards and tarantulas can also be found below.

As we tour the park, we see the canyon from both North and South Rims, Yaki Point, Desert View, and Hopi Point. Some of the features shown are Point Imperial and the natural stone archways of Angel's Window, or the wind whipped tufts of snow around Hermit's Rest. We see the mule train traverse the canyon along the Bright Angel trail. We also see the canyon from below, as we ride the Colorado River, sheer rock walls rising from her banks, with sparse nests of foliage clinging to the limited easements afforded on her shores. We visit Deer Creek Falls, and watch adventurers brave the Lava Rapids. Then we witness the majesty of the skies, as legions of clouds parade shadows across the canyon walls and slopes during time-lapse sequences, as the vivid yellows and oranges fade to pastels in the twilight.

In the tradition of other titles in the National Parks series, including Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Glacier National Park, the scenic landscapes, aerial photography and magnificent time-lapse sequences are accompanied by their natural atmospheric sounds and a soothing musical score, with no narration. In contrast to many of the other titles, Grand Canyon National Park has far more human content, and as before, key locations are noted in subtitles. This title makes another nice, hour-long escape to this most impressive location.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image quality is generally quite good, with strong colors, solid blacks and good contrast. Shot by shot differences do include some minor defects, including rare video dropouts, some streaking, or aliasing. This rates above average for the series.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented well, with a reasonable stereo spread, even tonal coverage, and good definition. Certain passages contain some faint crackling, but other than location audio having some hiss, this sounds just fine.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Packaging: EastPack
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no extra features.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Another engaging addition to the National Parks collection, we're treated to a decent overview of Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park. From riding the rapids to soaring above the mile deep canyon, we see the park throughout the seasons.


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