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The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D(2010)
Nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer and a group of friends seek out the best waves breaking on the reef at Tahiti's famed surf site Teahupo'o. As their quest unfolds, the audience is plunged beneath the surface of things, to explore the hidden forces at work shaping ocean waves and the islands that lie in their path. Amidst playful surfing action, we navigate the cosmos and an ocean storm in a search for the source and nature of a wave's energy. Exploring mountainous Tahiti, we are thrust into the turbulent volcanic past of the island and its neighbors and discover the seagoing, wave-riding roots of the islanders themselves -- a culture still rich in the music, dance and lore of the sea. Beneath the ocean...
For more about The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D and the The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray release, see the The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 4, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kelly Slater
Narrator: Michael Hanrahan
Director: Stephen Low
» See full cast & crew
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray Review
"Big and gnarly."
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 4, 2011
If you're patient, the perfect wave will come to you.
Think of "Paradise on Earth," and after the Garden of Eden, Tahiti may very well be the place that comes to mind. Beautiful coastal waters, lush vegetation, a unique people, and a hotspot destination for surfers, the French Polynesian Pacific island superficially appears to be one of the most beautiful and serene places on Earth. The former is definitely true, but the latter? It's actually a sometimes volatile, even occasionally dangerous place. With massive volcanoes; deadly storms; and the kinds of huge, record-setting waves surfers live for, Tahiti's natural beauty is offset by her unique geography, climate, and potential for extraordinary natural activity both awe-inspiring and deadly. It's just the sort of place the world's finest daredevil surfers love to go. Tahiti's rich culture, destination location, incredible surfing, and the science behind the island's geography are all explored in The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D, a fantastic little IMAX movie that's as informative as it is fun. Big in size but focused on the small island, veteran IMAX Director Stephen Low's (Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag) film brings all the critical components necessary to understand Tahiti's unmatched beauty and surf-ability to light. Get ready for some educational surfing fun!
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti follows world-renowned Surfer Kelly Slater and his Tahitian guide, Raimana Van Bastolear, as they share war stories of the surfing universe, explore the natural wonders of the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, and, of course, hit the water and catch a few waves. Their goal is to catch the ultimate in surfing -- a powerful wave known as a "Demonic Wave" -- that's brought about by the perfect storm of wind, tides, and distant storms. All of these elements, plus Tahitian culture, history, and local science are explored in great detail as the wait for the perfect wave goes on. Even when the waters are calm, though, the surfers and a few of their friends find plenty to do in Tahiti's crisp blue waters, whether playing games of endurance underneath the water's surface or enjoying the natural splendor around them. Still, it's all about catching the big one, and Tahiti is known for its frequency of once-in-a-lifetime sort of waves, making it one of the hottest destinations on the planet for serious surfers.
At its core, The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti is about surfing. Whether the science behind it or the people who enjoy it, the film is a beautifully crafted love letter to the wave, the sport, and the surfers who risk it all to ride the high. The film focuses on two individuals, primarily, but it's careful to show just how insignificant they really are next to the forces of nature. The environment is the true star of The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, and Director Stephen Low's photography captures the natural splendor of the place in intoxicating detail. His 3D cameras plop viewers into the middle of the tropical landscape, on the water, and under its dense surface for a full-fledged exploration of the island's true beauty that lies beyond even the scope and power of the perfect wave. The true beauty of the film is, really, that technology allows for people anywhere in the world to experience not only another culture but another corner of the world. The photography captures the natural beauty with startling attention to detail, and the 3D imagery not only puts it on display, but envelops the viewer to the point that it's the next best thing to actually being there, getting wet, smelling the vegetation, and soaking it all in firsthand.
But there's even more to The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti than pretty scenery and surfing action. It's also an educational film, but don't let that label be a deterrent to checking this movie out. Director Stephen Low regularly but with a careful hand injects plenty of easily-understood science into the film, and does so with good-looking computer graphics and easily understood terminology, all of which is designed to introduce viewers to the geography of Tahiti and the hows and whys behind the island's extraordinary waves. The film examines the role of the sun, moon, and the Earth's natural rotation in the formation of waves; the critical importance of storm winds in crafting the perfect wave; the formation of the Tahitian volcanoes; the growth of Tahiti's beautiful vegetation; the migration of peoples to the island centuries ago; the creation of coral reefs and the ecological importance of maintaining them; and the life that lives within the watery depths of the reefs. The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti is as much a science class as it is a surfing video, but Mr. Smith's Physical Science class was never this informative and fun.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Blu-ray 3D releases are still coming at a fairly infrequent rate, so it's always something of a rush when a new one comes in. Popping The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D into the Blu-ray player almost instantly recalls just how exciting this technology can be if it's done right and accompanying a worthwhile cinematic venture. The disc impresses even before the movie begins; even watching the well-made menu recalls just how amazing it really is that simply putting on a pair of specialized glasses can open up a whole new realm of visual entertainment. The menu features text raised against a static backdrop of a wave, in the center of which, seemingly further back inside the screen, plays a loop of full-motion visuals from the film. It's really not much in the grand scheme of things, but it's the attention to detail that really makes one appreciate Blu-ray 3D and all its capabilities. Of all the studios cranking out what amounts to only a handful of Blu-ray 3D discs, Image Entertainment is really near the top of the heap in terms of both frequency of output and quality of releases. The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti might be the studio's best title yet. Not only is the 3D stunning -- more on that in a moment -- but the transfer, in a more general sense, yields absolutely fantastic colors and precise details. Indeed, the color palette is simply breathtaking; Tahiti's blue waters positively sparkle, as does the varied vegetation around the island, not to mention more mundane objects like bright swimsuits. Detail, too, is nothing short of spectacular; whether the texture of frothy water, the finest details of the pebbly and sandy terrain along the beach, or simple facial and clothing details, the image is practically flawless in terms of its traditional merits. Best of all, this is a sharp, incredibly crisp image that's free of speckles, banding, blocking, or other eyesores.
The transfer's 3D attributes are almost as good. General depth is fantastic; the image appears to go on and on well into the depths of the television and beyond, truly transporting the viewer to the various locations around Tahiti, both above and below the water's surface. Several objects appear to extend beyond the front of the screen, too; surfboards point out of the screen in several scenes and water seems to splash on the 3D glasses several times, an effect bound to make viewers jump a bit out of their seats and wonder why they're not wet. Additionally, various real-life and computer-generated shapes take form with incredible lifelike accuracy. The various surfboards and other water toys have a tangible dimension that really brings them to life, particularly in conjunction with the amazing accuracy of the transfer's general depth of field. Only some slight and very infrequent "ghosting" effects will hamper one's enjoyment of the image; otherwise, this is a flawless transfer that demands to be viewed on the largest screen possible. For as great as it looks, the 50" Panasonic 3D monitor used for this review just doesn't do the scope and grandeur of the film justice.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti features a standout DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is an all-immersive listen, and really, that's almost necessary in a film like this, particularly with such dazzling 3D visuals in tow. The track features plenty of natural, wide-open space that lets music and sound effects both flow effortlessly around the soundstage, whether some percussion-heavy tribal-like beats that open the film or the various splashing sound effects as water seems to push through the speakers and into the listening area. The track also plays with some smoother, tropical-flavored musical notes that are also airy and effortless in delivery, but the track really hits home with its ability to use the entire soundstage with unmatched precision in the delivery of various aquatic effects; listeners, in conjunction with the superb 3D visuals, will regularly feel like they're in the water with the surfers. Of course, dialogue reproduction is accurate, center-specific, and never misses a beat. This is a fantastic soundtrack; one couldn't ask for more.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti rolls onto Blu-ray with a few extras of note.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti showcases some spectacular surfing action with one of the biggest names the sport has ever known, but the film is so much more than that and it proves the worth of these big IMAX features. As much a natural wonders sort of video as it is a surfing piece, one can only watch the film and marvel at the progress of technology and the ability to see the world in such glorious detail, to enjoy the beauty of God's handiwork even from thousands of miles away. It's not a substitute for actually feeling sand under feet and swimming in Tahiti's waters, but the 3D visuals bring audiences as close as they can get from the comfort of their own homes. This spectacular Blu-ray 3D release from Image Entertainment features a breathtaking 1080p 3D transfer, a rich lossless soundtrack, and even features a few extras. Highly recommended.
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Four Imax 3D Blu-ray Titles from Image in March - February 17, 2011
Image has announced four Imax 3D titles for Blu-ray release in March, three of them part of its agreement with Big Picture Digital Productions. On March 1, the studio will release Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia and The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti. Then, on March 29, ...
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D Blu-ray Screenshots
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