Suppose we could see the world from the air: There we'd be, in the sky, the land all spread below, peering through a window to get a new perspective on the planet we live on.
Then we could draw the shade, look for bargains in the airline magazine, doze on miniature pillows, eat plastic wrapped sandwich "snacks" or, with luck, watch a new movie.
"Living Planet," the new movie at the National Air and Space Museum, would be the best: It gives you the feeling of being in the sky, looking down on our planet with a new perspective. The 30-minute film, which shows natural wonders and historic monuments from the sky on the museum's 50-foot-by-75-foot screen, was made by Francis Thompson to succeed his highly popular "To Fly" at the museum. The first giant movie concentrated on the sensation of flying, taking the audience close to cookie-tossing heights, and this one continues the tradition by opening in a thunderstorm.
But it pays more attention to what's on the ground, from a camel caravan crossing a patterned desert to a Manhattan avenue infested with criss crossing yellow bug-like taxis. We drop in, from the sky, on a Greek island wedding and the morning rituals on the Ganges.All look cumulatively wonderous as we skip around experiencing humanity's contrasts.
And talk about a bird's-eye view: we swoop about the parthenon, the Taj Mahal, the Cathedral of Chartres as if looking for a niche that would support a small nest.
The moral, as continually stressed in the narration of this air cruise, is that we must save it all from pollution and destruction. Because it is, as they say, breathtaking.
LIVING PLANET, every 40 minutes from 10:15 to 8:15 daily at the National Air and Space Museum, 6th and Independence SW. Tickets (adults 50 cents; children, students and senior citizens 25 cents) may be bought in advance.