Greg MacGillivray’s 3D IMAX documentary, which takes on the impact of engineering over the centuries, is entertaining but almost too ambitious for its own sake. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Entertaining but almost too ambitious for its own sake, the latest IMAX documentary from Greg MacGillivray (“National Parks Adventure,” “The Living Sea”) takes on the impact of engineering over the centuries.
Spectacular shots of the Great Wall of China, created 2,000 years ago, are juxtaposed with more modest modern projects and stories. The narrative with the most dramatic arc focuses on Menzer Pehlivan, who was 13 when she witnessed the 1999 Kocaeli Earthquake in Turkey.
She had wanted to work in films or television, but the devastation of Turkey prompted her to pursue another kind of career. She became a geotechnical engineer specializing in earthquake engineering and was named as one of the “2016 New Faces of Engineering” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Movie Review ★★½
‘Dream Big: Engineering in Our World,’ a 3D IMAX documentary directed by Greg MacGillivray. 42 minutes. Not rated; suitable for general audiences. Pacific Science Center.
Last year she moved to the Seattle area, where she was contacted by the IMAX production company, which wanted her to play herself in “Dream Big.” She has worked on geotechnical and earthquake projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, specializing in making buildings safe. She now works on critical infrastructure projects at CH2M in Bellevue.
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“And I got to be an actress,” she said at the press premiere of the film at the Pacific Science Center, where it opens this weekend.
Narrated by Jeff Bridges, “Dream Big” also focuses on the adventures of Steve Burrows, a British structural engineer; Angelica Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant who specializes in robotics; and Avery Bang, a bridge-builder who works in underdeveloped countries.
MacGillivray says he set out to bust stereotypes and create a film for “kids of all ages, especially girls” who might not have thought about engineering “as a meaningful way to help others and leave a positive mark on the world.”
As with most MacGillivray projects, there’s plenty of razzle-dazzle eye candy on display. As a filmmaker, he still prefers 70mm film to digital; about 60 percent of “Dream Big” was shot on film. The result is fast-paced and attention-getting, but it can feel like overkill.