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Under the Sea 3D(2009)
Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Of crabs wearing jellyfish for hats. Of fish disguised as frogs, stones and shag carpets. Of a kaleidoscope of underwater life. Now, go explore it! The makers of Deep Sea and Into the Deep take you into tropical waters alive with adventure: the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms.
For more about Under the Sea 3D and the Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray release, see Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 3, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Howard Hall
Writers: Howard Hall, Toni Myers, Graeme Ferguson
» See full cast & crew
Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray Review
Underwater delights in the third dimension.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 3, 2010
Our legacy could be an ocean wonderland where dragons still roam and where sea lions are forever at play.
Anyone who loves oceans or the life that lives under their surfaces certainly has their fair share of titles to choose from on IMAX Blu-ray 3D. Under the Sea, Into the Deep (currently a Samsung Exclusive), Wild Ocean, and Deep Sea make up the quartet of Blu-ray 3D's current favorite niche, each one offering insightful commentary, gorgeous visual delights, and oftentimes stunning 3D photography that makes them all worthy endeavors for said fans of these sorts of releases. Under the Sea is a quality release that might best represent the mean of the underwater 3D documentary. It's not quite as endearing as Deep Sea, not quite as preachy as Wild Ocean, and it's not one of those mean and nasty exclusive 3D releases like Into the Deep. Narrated by Jim Carrey, Under the Sea offers up a nice spread of fascinating underwater creatures while highlighting the varied environments they call home. More of a smorgasbord than a focused Documentary like Wild Ocean, Under the Sea offers a usually playful but occasionally somber look at the life aquatic and the dangers it faces from man and shifting climates.
Under the Sea takes viewers on a journey of incredible discovery that focuses on creatures of all shapes and sizes and who call various parts of the world's oceans home. Things begin with the oceanic areas around Papua New Guinea and move on to examine the wonders of Australia's Coral Triangle where more marine species live than anywhere else on Earth. The action then shifts to the Southeast for a glimpse into life in the Great Barrier Reef, finally moving to the south end of Australia for an adventure into Cape Catastrophe where lives one of the world's most feared hunters, the Great White shark. Along the way, the documentary educates viewers with a look at marine diversity, studying everything from the volcanic gasses that form undersea fountains to the poisonous sea snakes that are capable of holding their breath for hours on end and that pack more venom than even the deadly land-based King Cobra. Under the Sea also emphasizes the critical importance of symbiosis to marine life while examining the creation and chemistry of coral, the film ultimately bringing everything together by pointing out the dangers each of these areas face from various external threats to the oceanic habitats of the world.
It's almost a foregone conclusion that all of these nature documentary films will at one point spend at least a few minutes highlighting various damage that's being done to the creatures and their habitats. Under the Sea is no different, and while the message isn't delivered in quite as urgent a fashion as some others, the film slowly but surely introduces its two cents into the narrative on the role of both man and changing climates in the negative and unnatural alterations of the underwater dwellings. Under the Sea champions quite a few issues, whether pointing out that more sea snakes exist as wallets, shoes, and handbags than they do, well, as sea snakes; highlighting the dwindling populations of sea lions and their futile efforts at escaping escalating global temperatures; or raising awareness of the strain that excess carbon dioxide is placing on the future growth of coral reefs. Fortunately, the movie makes its point without overwhelming its audience; conservationists will be inspired to do something more to save one or more of the endangered species or habitats, while skeptics should be able to enjoy the bulk of the movie and relish its amazing visuals without groaning through too many pleas for help and blatant instances of issue awareness.
Indeed, most of Under the Sea is a buoyant, jovial affair that takes much pleasure in simply showing off some of nature's most amazing underwater creatures. The photography is equal to that seen in Deep Sea, no surprise seeing as both films are directed by veteran underwater IMAX filmmaker Howard Hall. The picture takes great pains in making sure that the material is as fun as it is visually arresting, and aside from its photography and generally photogenic creatures and locales, Under the Sea's witty script that strives to invent cheerful and humorous stories for many of its subjects as they go about their daily lives -- eating, hiding, mating -- for the camera is the film's best asset. It plays with a very fluffy but undeniably engaging tone, making veteran Comedian Jim Carrey (A Christmas Carol) the perfect choice to narrate. Carrey brings a fresh and funny but not exaggerated or over-the-top style to Under the Sea, providing it with a surprisingly rich and affable texture that, combined with the witty writing that perfectly matches many of the underwater events and species, makes for the perfect marriage of entertainment and education. Sebastian approves.
Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Under the Sea 3D delivers a high quality Blu-ray 3D 1080p presentation that's among the better of the currently limited crop of high definition 3D titles. This disc features the same amazing IMAX 3D introduction found on the Deep Sea 3D disc, and it's still a stunner of a 3D image; with blue text and numbers hurtling towards the audience in a seamless and far too realistic effect that must be even better on a giant IMAX screen, the IMAX intro is a defining 3D experience that would undoubtedly help push Blu-ray 3D units on showroom floors, particularly when accompanied by the awesome lossless DTS track (see below). As the film begins, the main titles slowly push out towards the audience, setting up a wonderfully deep and almost seamless 3D presentation. Depth is quite strong as the television turns into a real-life window into the watery depths of the marine habitats around Indonesia and Australia. Fish and coral reefs and other natural wonders pass on by as if the viewer were submerged with them rather than viewing a secondhand account from afar. Watch as sea snakes seem to slither into the living room, or as a potato cod appears to extend well beyond the limits of the screen in chapter three. It's amazing stuff -- not quite as good as Deep Sea 3D, but close -- and even better, the dreaded "ghosting" effect is occasionally visible but not particularly bothersome when replayed on Panasonic's first-generation Blu-ray 3D hardware.
Under the Sea 3D also features fantastic detailing. The viewer will marvel at the scaly textures of crustaceans, the slimy surfaces of fish, and the sandy and pebbly ocean floor under which various creatures bury themselves for survival or use for camouflage while lying in wait for their unsuspecting prey to mozie on by. Even though the edges of the frame occasionally go soft, the primary focus of every shot is finely tuned and incredibly sharp, with the lifelike and precision detailing icing on a very tasty cake. Making things sweeter is the transfer's glorious coloring; the multicolored fish are seen in all their glory, the transfer expertly handling various shades of red, yellow, orange, blue, and green, all of which practically jump off the screen when combined with the lush 3D imagery. Banding is kept to a minimum, and there aren't any other distracting anomalies of note. Under the Sea 3D offers a delightful Blu-ray 3D transfer that's sure to please 3D newcomers and veterans alike.
Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Under the Sea 3D features a power-packed DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's every bit as good as -- if not slightly better than -- the accompanying 3D visuals. Comparing the Dolby Digital 5.1 track to the lossless DTS track over the otherwise identical IMAX opening advertisement that's found on both Deep Sea 3D and Under the Sea 3D proves the lossless soundtrack to be nothing short of a revelation and sonic marvel. If there's still anyone doubting the merits of lossless audio, check out both of these film's opens and the difference will reveal itself to be immediate and almost gargantuan. The lossless option provides a big, booming, and gloriously cinematic sensation that's the highlight of the disc and demo-worthy material. As to the actual program's audio, it's quite good, too. The lossless soundtrack provides punchy and impressive bass as listeners are submerged underneath the water's surface, the potent sensation of heavy pressure closing in on the soundstage readily evident throughout the film. Above the surface, the track provides some rich surround activity as insects buzz and birds chirp around the listening area, while gentle waves roll through the soundstage. Several added-after-the-fact sound effects play with a wonderful clarity in support of the underwater segments. If there's a downside to this track, it's that Jim Carrey's narration sometimes plays at too low a volume, and a few words get lost underneath music and sound effects. Otherwise, it's a quality listen from start to finish, and listeners should be more than satisfied with Warner's high quality lossless presentation.
Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No extras are included in this Blu-ray 3D release of Under the Sea 3D.
Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Under the Sea 3D is a playful and endearing little documentary that doesn't break any new ground, but the amazingly clear and detailed visuals are brought to life with a witty little make-believe script and excellent narration by longtime Comedian Jim Carrey. Not every scene is a comedy goldmine, but the film is balanced and smart, offering as much educational insight as entertaining tales of undersea life. The environmental angle is present but not overly intrusive, but even those who ignore or even disdain such pleas should still find plenty of value here in the superb visuals that showcase 41 minutes worth of a few of nature's most incredible creatures. Warner Brothers' Blu-ray 3D release of Under the Sea sports a pleasantly solid 1080p 3D transfer, an amazing lossless soundtrack, but no extras. Like Deep Sea, Under the Sea comes recommended as a purchase once the disc's price falls closer to the $20 range.
Under the Sea: Other Editions
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