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.
To The Arctic
Studio: Warner Bros.
Product Release: March 26, 2013
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dolby Digital French & Spanish 5.1
Running Time: 40 minutes
On A Scale 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3
3D Separation: 3
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2
I always enjoy watching these IMAX 3D titles coming out of Warner's
library. Immersing the viewer in glorious 3D, these documentaries offer
a captivating look at the world around us.
To The Arctic continues the IMAX tradition of taking us to regions that
are generally inaccessible -- in this case, the Arctic, which is the polar
region located at the top of our earth. Where the temperature usually
reaches 30 below, we meet a mother polar bear and her two seven-month
old cubs as they attempt to survive the wilderness within the changing,
warming Arctic climate. As you would expect, global warming is to blame
for the melting of the ice caps which is making it more difficult for wildlife to
Narrated by Meryl Streep, the documentary tends to cater more to children
than adults with its depiction of playful animals and constant reminders that
these creatures need their frigid cold environment to survive. WIth the arctic
warming twice as fast than any other place on earth, the polar bears are finding
it increasingly difficult to hunt for food, and are in more danger of being hunted
themselves from hungry predators.
As would be expected from these IMAX presentations, the transfer is visually
flawless. From the breathtaking waterfalls created by the melting ice caps
to the close-ups of polar bears and caribou, the viewer is constantly mesmerized
by the amount of detail that only this high definition format can provide.
Unfortunately, the 3D doesn't seem to add as much impact to the story as
it does to other IMAX films I have seen. Outside of a title sequence with its
snowflakes that place themselves outside the screen, the overall effectiveness
of the 3D process is mixed. Levels of depth seem to change from one shot to
another, with some sequences looking more flat than others. Perhaps, this is
not the most inviting environment for spectacular 3D effects. Still, I must say
that I thought the underwater sequences involving swimming polar bears and
walrus were the most stunning to watch. It was almost as if I could reach out
and touch these creatures.
If the 3D doesn't immerse you wholly, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track will make up
for the void. This is a very aggressive mix that takes advantage of placing
action across all the channels. With narration clearly emanating from the front,
the rears do an exceptional job of delivering ambient sounds that include the
crackles and crunches of the melting ice, the grunts of walrus, and the flyby
of dozens of birds during their flock. Steve Wood has written the music for
this film and it's quite enveloping with a chorus that resides mostly within the
rear channels. As an added treat, the soundtrack also features familiar and
original music from Paul McCartney.
When considering the many IMAX titles I have reviewed, it's difficult to place
To The Arctic as the best of the bunch. While it's visually perfect in both 2D
and 3D, the latter format doesn't really add enough impact to justify the exorbitant
price that is being asked for its purchase. There really are better 3D IMAX titles
to consider and you can check my list to see which ones I recommend most.
Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.