At the ‘Untamed Americas’ Premiere

It’s not often you see a red carpet outside the local theater. But there one was Tuesday outside the Uptown Theatre, the rare single-screen neighborhood theater on Connecticut St NW.

The event was the world premiere of the newest National Geographic epic, “Untamed Americas,” and the red carpet was there for, well, the people invited to see it. Some of the team of filmmakers who spent two years on the project were on hand, as were no shortage of executives extolling the film’s virtues. But as for actual celebrities, for whom a red carpet is the natural habitat, there were none. Not even Josh Brolin, who was enlisted to narrate the four-hour two night miniseries that plays Sunday and Monday on National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild.

There was some sort of snake present and being handled by someone. Somebody said they also saw a crocodile similarly on display for the nature show. But that’s about it.

The film was strong, but not necessarily on the big screen, where otherwise “The Avengers” has been the feature. What may be alluring on a home HD TV simply seems overwhelming on a big screen, like the bloodshot eye of a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram as he’s contemplating a hit.

The series which travels from “Alaska to Patagonia,” covering North, Central and South America, is divided into four different episodes emphasizing terrain – mountains, ocean, forests and deserts, and the one screened Tuesday was the mountains, which began with a lone wolf trying to pick off a caribou without much luck; and ended up with a mountain lion, who only found it too easy to find dinner.

These nature films aren’t easy to put together. First there’s getting all that footage, and then there’s the putting it together to make a narrative without making it too gross for the mass audience, since every bit of existence for most animals either involves killing and eating other animals or mating.

A big reception down the street at the National Zoo tried to pick up on some of the themes of the films, but nobody had to gnaw on a caribou leg or anything.

I ended up trying to go out the other exit of the zoo nearer to my house but found the gates closed. I had to walk back in the darkening zoo, where all the animals were caged and put away for the night, and the property seemed to be taken over by wild deer.

It was just the opposite of the nature films, where animals like deer are hunted down and thinned by the predatory animals. Here, the lions were locked up and the deer ruled. Topsy turvy, but it was part of the Americas too.

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