As of today, Philadelphia Anthem is history, replaced by Symphony Philadelphia, an eight-minute civic valentine that is in parts both superior and inferior to its predecessor.
While Anthem celebrated such civic landmarks as the Berean Presbyterian Church and Geno's Steaks, Symphony hits the more official institutions like the Academy of Music and the Franklin Institute.
The rotating main feature also changes today. Making encores are two Omniverse favorites, showing at separate times on a complicated schedule: To the Limit, chronicling the gravity-defying feats of rock climber Tony Yaniro, skier Maria Walliser, and prima ballerina Nina Ananiashvili; and Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets, with dramatic re-creations of historical events in the canyon.
The new short that precedes both opens with a shot of the academy's chandelier and the sounds of the Philadelphia Orchestra playing Dvorak's Eighth, as the camera swivels around to put the audience in Wolfgang Sawallisch's shoes. The camera gives a musician's-eye view of the maestro as well, a sight most concertgoers never see.
While this is interesting, it is not particularly cinematic, because in focusing on a face, director Jeffery Berry does not take advantage of the way the architecture at the academy conforms to the amphitheater contours of the IMAX process.
Much better is the sequence highlighting a Liberty Place window washer, which revels in his high-altitude work as it reveals the city's new skyscrapers.
Midway through Philadelphia Symphony, the film hits stride. A heartstopping sequence of high-wire workmen atop the Walt Whitman Bridge swoops into the camera's trip down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, up the Art Museum steps, and doubling back into . . . the rotunda of the Franklin Institute, where schoolchildren swarm the colossal statue of the seated inventor.
Ben Franklin's is a big enough personality to command the four-story height of the IMAX screen. And the stirring panorama of Parkway, Schuylkill and sunset that closes the film is enough to turn diehard Philaphobes into true Philaphiles.
While this new civic celebration has much to recommend it, the ideal prologue would be a best-of the Anthem and the Symphony.
IF YOU GO Where: Tuttleman Omniverse Theater at the Franklin Institute, 20th Street and the Parkway.
When: Hourly beginning at 10 a.m. daily, with evening showings Thursdays through Saturdays; complete schedule is at the number below.
Cost: $7.50 for each main movie ($2 for second movie).
Phone: 215-448-1200 (press 1)