Review: Fungi: Web of Life In 3D

8 Minute Read
Art & Culture
Written by Angie Fay

“The living world is connected by a vast kingdom of connected life. We are only just beginning to discover it” 

Watching ‘Fungi: Web of Life’ inside the hanger-like confines of Waterloo’s IMAX at 11am on Good Friday is a sight for sore eyes. This is a giant-screen film narrated by Björk with biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake (Entangled Life) traversing terrains around the world to showcase some of the most essential and quite mind-bending fungi and mycelium networks.

The footage is mesmeric and beautiful. And it’s certainly all the more captivating for the 3D 20-metre-high mammoth screen setting, mushrooms reaching out from the screen and almost bringing you into their papery gills. At quite a crucial point, where the film turns to the biggest challenge faced by Fungi, humanity essentially takes on something of an Avatar-esque quality, but it does the job of hitting home.




Top fungi facts from the film:

  • Fungi on the whole remain mostly out of sight but sometimes appear as mushrooms
  • We know so little yet they are some of the greatest survivors and have lived through 5 mass extinctions.
  • Fungi are the key component in so many common medications, with some fungi naturally producing antibiotics.

What can we learn from these incredible organisms, in our own time of radical change?

  • Mushrooms can be many things. They can be poisonous. They can provide cures. And they can cause visions. They can also be delicious.
  • Whereas animals consume food, bringing it into their bodies, Fungi eat by growing into their food.
  • Mycelium – have no eyes or nose but can sense the world and show how you don’t have to have actual brains to solve problems.
  • They thrive on every continent and act as an incredible transport network.
  • 90% of plants use fungi to survive
  • In this way, they can teach us so much about the symbiotic way of life.


Fungi offer world-changing opportunities for humanity.  

  • Fungi recycle decomposition. Without this, we would have dead plants, and trees piling up all over the place.
  • Fungi have the chemical arsenal to break down plastic and actively digest it. This can solve big world problems.
  • We can already see from penicillin, which was first produced from a naturally occurring fungus, how it’s saved billions of lives. Research is now looking into how fungi could cure epilepsy and cancers.
  • So we see how fungi can decompose pollutants and heal people.
  • But they can also build things up and a range of mycelium products are now being products including food, furniture, clothes (including a totally synthetic-free and totally vegan leather) and even surfboards. All completely compostable. With a long term dream to grow organs (Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative)

“If fungi have taught us anything, it’s that those that adapt, survive.”


Thanks to the imax Waterloo.

Find out where to watch and stream the move here: