What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2
A living, breathing, pop-up book!
You know, I am reminded of the early days of HD television. Most of you will probably
relate. There was no content in HD other than one or two channels that did nothing but
show nature videos. So, there you were totally enthralled by gorgeous HD footage of
insects mating -- and you watched it because it was just amazing to look at in high definition.
That's sort of how I feel about these IMAX titles. I am not the kind of person that
would regularly go out and buy these documentaries. However, I have quickly learned
that these IMAX releases from Warner and Image are becoming flagship demo material
for the new format. They are expertly produced and provide some of the most awe-inspiring
footage you will find anywhere.
Narrated by Robert Redford, Grand Canyon Adventure River At Risk basically takes us
on a journey down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon, its inner gorge and surging rapids.
Along the way we are given a brief history of the earliest settlers, the Anastasi Indians as
well as the earliest pioneers who trekked down into the canyon.
Along the way we are treated to various wildlife and reptiles that inhabit the region
including gila monsters and rattlesnakes.
The one problem that viewers may have with the content is that is does tend to
become overly preachy. In fact, to different extents, this seems to be the case
with all the IMAX titles I have seen thus far. However, in its defense, this is one
of the main reasons why you get actors like Robert Redford and environmental
advocates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Wade Davis behind projects like this. The
purpose of these videos are to entertain and educate. In this case, the message
of the Colorado river being altered and depleted by water consumption and man-made
dams is a very important one. Yes, this message is driven to the viewer moreso
than similar documentaries but I suppose I was too enthralled with the video to complain.
So, let me talk about the 3D image quality. At the top of this review I mentioned
a pop-up book. That is probably the best way to describe what the 3-dimensional
experience is like. You have this unbelievable sense of depth from mountain peaks
to canyon floor. They look almost like cut-outs strategically placed to create a
breathtaking illusion. Within that you have small people who look like cut-outs
themselves that can be easily picked up between your thumb and forefinger. With
all this added depth, you are looking at the canyon in ways that you never could
before and certainly unmatched by anything filmed in 2D.
Other than the menu and title sequence that features a floating water bubble
that moves in and out of screen, there is hardly any "In Yo' Face" gimmickry to
be found. That's fine. It's not needed here. I did like the effect enough, however,
to give a slightly higher category rating. There are still ever-so-slight problems
with objects moving in from the front that shift your focus and momentarily
interrupt the 3D experience. I am finding this common with the material.
What I also find to be remarkable is the image quality. I don't believe I have ever
seen high definition television look this spectacular. The images are so amazingly
crisp and defined with gorgeous colors of the golden desert, canyons and rocky peaks
set against a saturated blue sky. It's just breathtaking. There are no flaws here.
The audio is very punchy. Do turn this up loud. There is an excellent soundtrack
that encompasses all the channels and features the music of the Dave
Matthews Band. The sound of rushing or splashing water effectively surrounds
the viewer. Once again, a soundtrack as immersive as the imagery.
Included is a 34 minute 2D "making of" documentary that interviews cast
and crew and gives you an idea of what it is like taking 300 lb. fully loaded
Imax cameras down into the canyon to film this kind of action.
Another spectacular IMAX entry, Grand Canyon Adventure River At Risk,
is a title highly worthy of your consideration. Fortunately, this is a reasonably
priced title for its 45 minute running time. I found it on Amazon for $20.
I think most people will easily overcome the preachiness in favor of the
stunning 3D imagery this program provides.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3808CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer