STUDIO: Red Envelope Entertainment
95 minutes

The Pitch

Open up your third eye and check out the mana!

The Humans

Lots of humans, dozens of them in Elvis costumes.

Behold! The power of mana!

The Nutshell

Wikipedia defines mana as “…an important force or quality that resides in people, animals, inanimate objects and that instills the appreciative observer a sense of respect or wonder.” In a nutshell, if you have a movie poster or a book, a strap-on toy, or a religious figure that fills you with awe, then that object has mana.

The Lowdown

I never really thought about mana too much before seeing this film. Sure, I would look at something, or read something that enlightened me and made me feel all warm inside, but I never really felt the need to explore ideas behind why looking at a particular object or taking part in an event made me feel better. Thanks to Mana – Beyond Belief I still don’t have to, but not because it’s a bad movie. In fact it’s a terrific documentary that gives a great general overview on what mana is and various ways that it expresses itself.

Perhaps cars built from paper wasn’t the wisest business model.

Mana – Beyond Belief takes the very broad concept that all things have their own kind of energy and brings the point home without getting too “new agey” on the viewer. The filmmakers traveled across five continents to collect hundreds of amazing images; ranging from the shroud of Turin to a futuristic time machine/piece of art that is nestled in the heart of Wisconsin.

The most interesting part of this documentary is how it manages to take completely juxtaposed objects and meld them into one cohesive idea. I would have never thought of Elvis having anything in common with Edgar Allen Poe’s severed, semi mummified hand, but they both are in the film, both of them giving off an energy that different types of cultures respond to.

…and you oughtta see what kind of trouble it gets into with the brain of Herbert Hoover!

The filmmakers go further in defining mana by offering up the idea that it may also include things that are not simply objects, such as stock markets in some cities and fish markets in others. It was interesting to see scenes of people running around a stock exchange screaming about selling and buying their shares cut together with fishmongers yelling and screaming to make people aware of their product. Yeah, it’s all a bit simple, and while the movie itself doesn’t really make any bold revelations on its topic after the first ten minutes, the images continually astound and back up the idea that everything has mana in strikingly visual ways.

DisneyWorld Afghanistan was doomed to failure from the start.

The Package

There is not one extra piece of mana on this disc other than the film itself. The only annoying thing about this movie was that I couldn’t turn off the English subtitles, but luckily there isn’t much talking in it anyway. Now, enjoy some pictures of Elvis impersonators

8.5 out of 10