Falls Short of Potential
Daniel J. Carvin | California | 09/08/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains three features. The first "The Poet and the Rough Rider" is a dramatization of a meeting that took place between Sierra Club founder John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt. The second, "John Muir's Yosemite" contains miscellanious scenic shots of Yosemite Valley with a voice-over of an actor reading passages of Muir's writings. The third feature, "Falling Waters" contains shots of Yosemite scenery with a musical background.When I purchased this DVD, I was primarily interested in the "Poet and the Rough Rider" segment. Unfortunately, this segment left me disappointed. I suspect the script bears little resemblance to what actually occured nearly 100 years ago. Actor Lee Stetson has performed one-man performances of John Muir in Yosemite Valley for many years, and was convincing in this feature, but he is shown arguing to close Yosemite to human visitation, a position I doubt he would have taken.The feature also suffered from a lack of budget. Muir and Roosevelt were the only characters. I would have liked to see the look on the faces of Roosevelt's entourage when he insisted he would travel into the wilderness alone with Muir. I'd like to see the near panic at the hotel when an unexpected storm drops a light snowfall overnight and the President is out somewhere in it, then a cut to Roosevelt awakening to the scene a beauty around him and shouting "Bully!" "John Muir's Yosemite" was my favorite of the three segments. I judge these videos according to how well the recreate the peaceful feeling I have when I am actually in Yosemite. Random shots from Yosemite Valley cut to Muir's words pleasently brought me back to my own personal Yosemite memories. Surprisingly, the voice-over is not Stetson."Falling Waters" is best viewed on its own, not after the first two features, as it contains scenery shots from the same stock as the first two. The music is nice and the scenery is second to none, but the editing is too fast. Yosemite gazing is best done at a slow pace. During May visits I have gazed upon the ever-changing upper Yosemite Fall for 10 minutes at a time. Yosemite videos should allow you to thoroughly soak up one image before moving to another. Yosemite lovers are better off with Sundance's "Yosemite - The Fate of Heaven" (VHS only) or one Sterling Johnson's DVDs, "Acending Rhythm" or "The Seasons.""