3D Blu-ray Review "IMAX: To The Arctic"

tothearticNarrator: Meryl Streep
Directors: Greg Macgillivray
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Running Time: 40 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When it comes to nature documentaries, who can turn them down. They are like a car crash you just can’t look away.  “To The Arctic” looked so cute with those little polar bears. The film is enjoyable but really when it comes down to it…it is just WAY to short.  I understand that IMAX movies used to run 40 minutes and that was the norm but now there are new 3D films in IMAX every week.  40 minutes really restricts this film to of getting a chance to spread it wings or paws in this case.  It feels rushed and right when it gets good it ends. I would have loved to seen this expanded for 90 minutes, like the Disneynature films.  I also felt the same way about the last IMAX film “Born To Be Wild”. Unless you are a 3D junkie like myself, I would catch this program when it airs on cable or rent it.

Official Premise: “To The Arctic” takes you on a never before seen journey through the power of the IMAX lens into the lives of a mother polar bear and her two seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home. Captivating adventurous and intimate footage brings you up close and personal with this family’s struggle to survive in a frigid and dynamic environment of melting ice immense glaciers spectacular waterfalls and majestic snow-bound peaks.

The film gets it voice from three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, who narrates this documentary.  The film was shot on location in the Arctic Circle in the IMAX 3-D format. I thought the 3D was very impressive.  It adds quite a bit of depth to the Arctic and makes you feel like you are right there with them.  The film is written and edited by Stephen Judson, who worked on the award-winning “Everest”.  My favorite part of the film though has to be the music.  The score is very well done by Steve Wood and contains seven songs by Paul McCartney.  There were two songs from his span with Wings including “I’m Carrying” and “Big Pop”.  There is Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE” version of “Because”. Mr Bellamy from his 2007 album “Memory Almost Full”. “Calico Skies” and “Little Willow” appear from his 1997 album, “Flaming Pie”. Lastly there is a nice cover of “Maybe I’m Amazed” in the end credits.

Warner Brothers really delivers a very impressive release here with “To The Arctic”.  The release comes as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet digital streaming copy.  But wait there is more, the film was released in 3D in theaters, so there is a bonus Blu-ray 3D included as well.  I enjoyed the 3D version quite a bit but luckily it is one of those films that can be enjoyed either way without loosing too much. I have to admit though, I really loved the underwater scenes in 3D. Very breathtaking.  The 1080p transfer looks very sharp within its 1.78:1 aspect ratio, I would have loved to see them keep the IMAX aspect ratio for this Blu-ray though. The DTS-HD Master Audio works perfectly with the music, especially Paul McCartney’s tunes! You will find yourself turning the volume to 11 and jamming out!

The special features are good and to be honest I am impressed they even had extras.  But with a documentary film, I am always interested in the behind-the-scenes. There are a four featurettes included to round out this release. The first is “A  Polar Bear Family” and takes a closer look at the stars of the film.  “To The Arctic with Meryl Streep” is a chat with the actresses and narrator of the film.  “The Challenge of Filming in the Arctic” is exactly what it sounds like.  I give these guys a lot of credit for their work. The last is called “Welcome to the Arctic”, which takes us on a journey through the frozen part of our world.  Lastly, there is a trailer included. I would have loved to see a few of these available in 3D as well since they were obviously shot in 3D like the film itself.

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