National Parks Adventure Movie Soundtrack Features Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (Twice)

National Parks Adventure, released February 2016, is summarized in The Smithsonian:

National Parks Adventure takes you on the ultimate IMAX® off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness. Spectacularly wild and beautiful places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Everglades, the Redwoods, Arches, and Canyonlands are illuminated as never before with immersive giant-screen cinematography, revealing a tapestry of natural wonders that will inspire the adventurer in us all.

Viewing the film at a huge screen theatre in The Hague, Peter Torbijn of the Netherlands was surprised to find Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah featured in the soundtrack twice (once as the Jeff Buckley cover). This excerpt from “National Parks Adventure”: An Omni Ode to Our Parks as Playgrounds by Jay Gabler. (The Tangential: Feb 24, 2016) describes the role of the song in the movie:

In the rootsy jukebox that soundtracks the new National Parks Adventure, two songs are actually heard twice each. One of those songs is unsurprising: if you thought you were going to see a film about the National Park system without getting both the Bruce Springsteen and Little Feat versions of “This Land is Your Land,” you had another think coming.

The other is less obvious: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Besides the fact that the singer-songwriter is actually Canadian (shhh), the song isn’t about land or home or summertime: it’s about a conflicted relationship.

“Hallelujah” ends up highlighting two subtexts in National Parks Adventure. There’s a clear religious allusion, particularly when the song is heard as three vacationers explore a sanctuary-like ice cave on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Then, there’s also the theme of our conflicted relationship with the land we’ve made ourselves stewards of.

Note: The soundtrack below proffers Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.


I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Mar 23, 2016.

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