Epic journey among the butterflies

A scenic journey up the Amazon for Henry Bates.
Amazon Adventure
Director: Mike Slee  
Cast: Calum Finlay, Begê Muniz, Ed Birch, William Postlethwaite, Robert Daws
Showing: At IMAX until September 20
Verdict: ★★★½

By WILL ZWAR

Amazon Adventure reveals a discovery of the unknown world that is the Amazon jungle, through the true story of explorer Henry W. Bates (Calum Finlay).

For Bates, dreams become reality when he escapes his family business as a stocking-maker, and begins to explore the world, against all odds and advice.

He travels through Brazil in the 1850s, discovering countless butterflies, reptiles and birds in their natural habitats, as he and his companions balance survival with adventure.

IMAX’s latest film provides an inspiring and enlightening journey through the jungle, discovering the secrets of botany and evolution.

The somewhat cringeworthy dialogue of witty and innocent phrases matches the portrayal of a young Bates, and helps the viewership to connect with the character and both his curiosity and naivety.

The process of evolution that is shown is complex, yet explained in a way that even the children in the audience understand.

It puts in place a practical and simple explanation of a high-school genetics class that once took far too long to come out of the textbook, through the development of a vulnerable caterpillar into a survivor of the jungle.

Bates discovered hundreds of butterflies on his Amazon journey.

It isn’t just a science story however, with plenty of drama unfolding throughout.

His 11-year journey into the Amazon provides a strong-enough narrative to carry the story, with ups and downs, challenges and resolutions along the way, inspiring the audience to go out and do the same, explore the world and make new discoveries.

Using IMAX as a platform, the director shows the best of the jungle visually, engaging the audience with the process of learning and discovery that Bates follows.

It’s a strong film that has the audience connected the whole way through, telling one of the lesser known stories of history.