Linda Cook review: Engaging ‘Into the Canyon’ opens QC Environmental Film Series

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They had no idea what they were getting into. But you’ll be glad they did it.

Filmmaker/photographer Peter McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko decided to walk the entire length of the Grand Canyon, a 750-mile trek, in 2016.

The documentary about their adventure is an engaging mixed bag of a buddy film, history, classic beauty shots of the environment and the politics involved in how the area – continually threatened by developers – has come to be used.

I was surprised to learn more people have stood on the moon than have taken a complete hike of the canyon. McBride and Fedarko wisely completed their journey in sections.

They never forgot to show us just how grueling the challenge was, all the while letting us see breathtaking images of the beauty that surrounded their often-battered bodies. Along they way they are assisted by guides.

The canyon is a scared place. We hear the hikers talk about that, but even more powerful are the words of the Navajo who try to stop the development, such as helicopter tours and uranium mines, that continues in the area.

The Grand Canyon National Park terrain may be rugged, but the ecosystem that forms this iconic landmark is fragile, and humankind continues to encroach upon it. Especially compelling are the actions of a group of Navajo women who protest a billion- dollar tram project a developer wants to build.

There are some surprisingly emotional moments in this movie that I’ll let you discover for yourself. This thought-provoking film, important enough to merit first of this series, is well worth the hike.

3 ½ stars

Running time: One hour and 24 minutes.

The QC Environmental Film Series, which will begin Sunday, presented by the Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, River Action and Nahant Marsh.

Admission to all five films is $20, and it’s otherwise $5 per movie. “Into the Canyon” will be shown at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.

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