Friday, June 13, 2008

This weekend’s big dilemma: ‘Grand Canyon Adventure’ or ‘The Incredible Hulk?’

If I were marketing "Grand Canyon Adventure" – and if I were a little misguided, which I am – I'd pitch:

"Has $4 gas curbed your summer vacation plans? Sci-Port Discovery Center has a solution to your travel woes.

"On Saturday, the downtown science center will open 'Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk' in its IMAX Theater. Tickets are just $8.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids.

"Buy tickets now, save a few tanks of gas and prevent yourself from repeating 'Don't make me turn this car around!' At Sci-Port's IMAX, everyone in your family can experience nausea, dizziness, and if you're lucky, vertigo in the comfort of an air-conditioned movie theater."

In all seriousness – well, with as much seriousness as I can muster on a day when "The Incredible Hulk" will market rage and destruction to the popcorn crowd (present-party included) as hip pop psychology (am I prejudging at the risk of sounding foolish? "Bad critic!") – "Grand Canyon Adventure" looks like a worthwhile educational flick for moviegoers who give a lick about conservation.

The movie's tour guides are a river advocate and an anthropologist. (They're smart, I take it.) They take us (and the proverbial IMAX family) on a run down the Colorado River. They will point out how the landscape has changed dramatically during a century's worth of industrialized human pressure, and how a once free-flowing river sometimes comes to a trickling halt on its way to the ocean. That's not good.

You'll learn about rivers. You'll learn about the mega-drought that's paralyzing the Southwest. And you'll learn about the power and fragility of one very vital resource: water.

And who knows: Perhaps its message will give Hulk a whole new reason to go green. (Not.)

"Grand Canyon Adventure" opens tomorrow and runs for three months. Show times:

11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

11 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays.

2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sundays.

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