Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Northern Angler DVD Review

As a regular blog feature, we are going to start a weekly DVD or book review. Most of the time we will stick to newer stuff, but we will cover some older things too. For the first entry we picked a newer DVD, the documentary Red Gold.

Red Gold
By Felt Sole Media – an environmental documentary.

I had heard about how great this film was from a number of people in the business and so I was afraid that it would suffer from inflated expectations but that was definitely not the case. The movie (and the fight against the Pebble Mine) has been supported by many of the biggest names in the flyfishing business – Sage, Patagonia, Redington, Rio and Orvis, and after watching it, I can see why. The film takes place in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska, home of the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers which support some of the largest sockeye salmon runs anywhere in the world. It is also home to a newly discovered copper and gold reserve that has an estimated value of $350-$500 billion (yes with a ‘b’). The mining company says they can get the rock out of the ground without harming the environment and surrounding land, but unfortunately history doesn’t side well with that claim. So the fight to stop the mine is a big one and is the reason the film came to be.
The setting for the movie is an incredible place, true wild lands on a scale that most of us have never experienced or could even imagine. I hate to sound like a cliché movie reviewer, but the phrase that comes to mind is visually stunning. This is a DVD that you want to watch on the biggest TV that you can, it’s awesome. The filmmakers did a wonderful job bringing together aerial images, panoramas, still photos (both present day and historical), interviews, and good music to make a movie that is an hour well spent.
Being a pro environmental/anti mining film, it could have been very easy for the film makers to inundate the viewer with footage of mines and all of the disasters, environmental rape, and resource damage that could occur. Furthermore they could have spun and villianized the mining company representatives as greedy money chasers that could care less if some fish died, but in my opinion, that’s where Red Gold really shined. They took the high road and basically gave the miners’ side of the story without bias and acknowledged the huge economic potential of the find and the reasons they want to build the mine. On the other side of the coin, the film presents a wonderful portrait of a truly incredible place with all of its natural beauty and history and the people that call Bristol Bay home. Without actually being there you still gain a great appreciation of what is really at stake if the mine goes forward and the worst case environmental outcome occurs. In the end, I can highly recommend Red Gold and thank the filmmakers for a job well done.

The Northern Angler

No comments: