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The Human Body At Union Station Kansas City
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Reviewed on 2008-03-19
3 1/2 Stars (Out of Four)

This educational and fun IMAX documentary takes a look at the extraordinary insides of our bodies. Groundbreaking computer graphics along with the latest medical and scientific imaging give an overview of the inconceivable complexity that takes place under the skin.

The attention-grabbing opening scene is of a gigantic belly button and a blinking human eye.

The movie follows a family from dawn to dusk as they go about their daily routines. The human cast consists of pregnant Heather Pike, her husband, Buster, her niece Zannah and nephew Luke. A split-screen divides the rooms in the British home of Heather’s sister. Each person serves as a model to observe different bodily functions.

Zannah and Luke wake up from a deep sleep. We see how their eyes adjust to light. Buster cuts himself shaving, which causes the death of red blood cells. Luke rides his bicycle to school. Heat sensors and a skeletal X-ray show the effect of exercise on bone structure. Buster drives to work and we see how neurons in the brain process thoughts and reflex actions. Heather eats a pasta salad and we observe the biological blender of her digestive system.

The reproductive process from conception to birth is the centerpiece. The flight of male sperm to the female egg is magnified and accompanied by the music of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” The speedy growth of the developing fetus is explained.

The hormonal changes during puberty are mentioned with references to pimples and hair growth.

The movie is narrated by Dr. Robert Winston, who has a pleasant and authoritative voice. This sensory experience combines optics over 5 ˝ stories tall with dramatic use of sound. It won the Golden Reel Award for best sound editing in a special venue film. You will be astounded by the explosive pumping chambers of the heart, the sizzle of dying brain cells and the whoosh of the lungs inhaling and exhaling.

This 40-minute movie progresses quickly and is a good starting point for discussion. A comprehensive teacher guide will be included in packets from school group bookings. Health lesson plans encourage student/parent interaction and are appropriate for ages 8-14.

This informative and fascinating movie is a companion piece to the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit that runs through Sept. 1. Now showing exclusively at the Extreme Screen inside Union Station.

Review By:
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"

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