Under the Sea (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Documentary / Special Interest
Warner Brothers || G - 41 minutes - $35.99 || March 30, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-03-14


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Howard Hall
Writer(s): Howard Hall (narration written by)
Cast: Jim Carrey


Theatrical Release Date: February 13, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 6 Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot (from back cover): 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. This film brings you face to fin with nature’s marvels, from the terrible grandeur of a Great White to the comic antics of a lovestruck cuttlefish.

I’m not usually big on these IMAX home video releases primarily because I don’t have the frame of reference to have seen them in the proper settings: i.e. an IMAX screen. This goes double for Under the Sea as it originally was on IMAX screens in 3D. But, based on what I saw on the smaller, home theater screen, I was still fairly impressed even if the overall project wasn’t anything spectacular.

My main problem with Under the Sea is that while we got to see many species of fish in magnificently blue waters, it wasn’t all that enthralling unfortunately. The one and big plus going for the film is the inclusion of Jim Carrey’s narration. Carrey provides a bit of information mixed in with some nicely-written (by director Howard Hall) humor such as the mating tactics of cuttlefish or the cunningness of some of the slower moving fish in the sea.

Under the Sea on its own and on a smaller screen is fine but it probably something to behold on the huge IMAX screen and in 3D as it was originally intended. But as it stands, I can give this a moderate recommendation especially if you’re into these types of documentaries.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Filming IMAX: Under the Sea (7:17) – This is a short EPK featurette that was made to advertise the film. That said, it also provides some behind-the-scenes footage of them filming underwater, so it’s not a complete waste.

** Blu-ray Exclusives **

Expeditions (12:06) contains behind-the-scenes on five expeditions including Papua New Guinea – New Britain, Papua New Guinea – Milne Bay, South Australia, The Great Barrier Reef and Indonesia. These were filmed for the Internet, so each is fairly short.

Note: These can be played at once or individually.

Lastly, although we did not receive the special edition screener, the Blu-ray does also come with a DVD/Digital Copy Combo Disc.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Under the Sea is presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio that is no doubt different ratio than that shown on the IMAX screen. That said, it’s a nice looking documentary with lovely blues and the variety of colors of the fish encountered throughout. This isn’t display quality work here but I was impressed enough with the transfer as the detail levels, for something shot entirely underwater, was pretty good.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio might be considered overkill especially since the majority of the film is made up of water sounds, the score and Jim Carrey’s omniscient voice coming from the heavens. Again, nothing outstanding but good enough for the subject.



.::OVERALL::.

Under the Sea isn’t a bad documentary but I wasn’t as enthralled with it as I had anticipated. It also doesn’t help that it was originally made for IMAX screens and 3D presentation, so seeing it on a much smaller screen and in 2D might’ve taken away the experience filmmakers wanted the viewer to have.