Experience the world of the magnificent and rare Giant Panda as you travel back in time on an exciting expedition through the breathtaking splendor of 1936 China. Inspired by the true-life story of widowed New York socialite Ruth Harkness, a fiercely independent woman who dared to take up her late husband's expedition, journeying deep into the forests of China to study the Giant Panda.
When it confines its attention to the giant pandas and the spectacular Chinese landscape, this 2-D Imax feature makes reasonably good use of the Imax format; it's like watching an expensive, high-definition slide show in your neighbor's cavernous, steeply banked living room. But just as the vast, square Imax screen magnifies panda-haunches and steep, jungle-clad gorges, its relentless scale also enlarges a half-baked, mediocre little adventure story into something almost grotesquely bad. What might have been a pleasant nature documentary — though a somewhat phony one, since the pandas were transported to China from American zoos — has instead become a gooey, overscored, underwritten, and mercifully short period costume drama. - A. O. Scott
2001-09-14 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of China: the Panda Adventure