IMAX: UNDER THE SEA (Blu-ray Edition)|
Warner Bros. | 2009 | 41 mins | Rated G | Mar 30, 2010
Written by David Hillyer
April 7, 2010
I've always been a big fan of IMAX films. My first experience with IMAX movies was in 1985 at Cedar Point amusement park in Northwest Ohio. When I was a kid we went there and one of the attractions was a huge movie theater showing “The Dream is Alive” on a screen bigger than a football field. It was big. Even the sound was big. The teaser boasted that the shuttle launch sequences were at actual sound levels of the real launch. I believed it. It sure seemed like it was true.
Since then the movie landscape has changed significantly. The movie theater experience has now moved into many homes with big screen HDTV and THX certified surround sound systems sounding every bit as good as a real theater – without the fussy kids and talking patrons. Even the IMAX films have made their way to home video – the latest incarnation being high definition Blu-Ray discs.
There is very little to get people back to the theaters. It's about the experience. I don't want to hear people talking, kids fussing, people text messaging and overpriced popcorn being consumed. The only movies I would pay to see are things I can't see at home. That usually comes in the form of huge screens like IMAX or Omnimax, or the latest incarnation of 3D. Thankfully, 70mm IMAX film is far beyond any video resolution we have seen at home. Even older movies like The Dream is Alive are on Blu-Ray now and look even better than I remember. So IMAX movies coming to Blu-Ray in all their glorious resolution and vibrant colors is a great thing for any movie fan.
Under The Sea takes a 41 minute look in the ocean at all kinds of strange and exotic creatures – most of which we have never seen. It's an interesting look at some strange fish, but honestly it's not much better than my aquarium screen saver on my computer. There is no tangible story – just kind of a “let's look in the sea for a few minutes” documentary style film. There's very little action aside from some fish 'getting it on' – which might lead to an interesting conversation the car between parents and kids afterward. Some of the creatures are fascinating but are shown too briefly for any real teaching moments.
The vast majority of IMAX movies are rated G. Under the Sea is no exception but it probably should have been. It's nice to have a movie that you can take the kids to see with all the vibrant colors and weird creatures they have never seen before. It's all good as Jim Carey narrates with a simple message of how we are polluting the ocean and killing the wildlife. But how can you possibly show a Great White Shark just swimming by with only a vague narration about how they sometimes attack stingrays. Everyone in the theater is waiting for this beast to take a chomp out of the stingray, but we see nothing. I guess they didn't want to make the kids have nightmares.
There is very little background music. The producers instead focused on the calming sound of the ocean water and life therein. The slight orchestration is barely noticeable. The film ends with a horrible rendition of the Beatles “Octopus's Garden” by a relative of the soundtrack producer.
The disc also includes five webisode featurettes, which are, again, far more interesting than the actual movie.
In all you get about 20 minutes of extras which is not much. It could have been a whole side adventure – follow the filmmakers as they fight Mother Nature and the travel companies to get this film made! But we just got these quick clips that barely touch on the most interesting parts of the film process. The review copy of Under the Sea included just the Blu-Ray of the movie, however some retail versions has DVD and digital copies included.