Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IMAX: Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray Review

Release Date: November 16th, 2010
Disc Size: 14.3 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: ABC

The Video
IMAX: Under the Sea’ debuts on Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p MVC video presentation, the 2D version of the film is also included on the same disc via a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The disc takes up less than a BD-25, but it does take up more space than the original Blu-ray release. The film is 41 minutes in length, so not too much space is needed.

Please note, to view the 3D version of the film, the following are required: A 3DTV, 3D Blu-ray player and 3D glasses. As mentioned, the disc will work on your regular Blu-ray player and television with a 2D viewing option included on the disc.

I have watched the original 2D Blu-ray release a few times now and I have always been impressed by the level of detail found within the high-def presentation. The film has always had an impressive level of 3D pop, even when not in 3D so I was definitely excited to check out the actual Blu-ray 3D release.

This is one impressive disc, but it also has a couple of small issues. The 3D effects in this film are some of the most effective I have experienced (when done right) and there were moments which it really did look as if sea creatures were swimming outside of the television screen.

I did experience some slight ghosting issues with both a Panasonic and Samsung display. The issue is certainly noticeable, but it is not a constant or very annoying issue. I am curious to see if the issue will still be present with future 3D glasses, which I am sure will feature somewhat of an improvement.

The film’s colors and level of detail are simply stunning like the previous Blu-ray release. The level of pop and dimension is incredible in both 3D and 2D. The film definitely has that ‘made for 3D’ look which benefits nicely when actually presented in 3D, but it looks incredible in 2D as well. 9.5/10.

The Audio
Warner Home Video has included an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which is the lossless option included for both the 3D and 2D presentation. Also included are French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French and Spanish.

First off, thank you Warner Home Video for included a lossless mix. I really enjoyed the high-def clarity of the previous release and the identical mix is included this time as well. The documentary features narration by Jim Carrey which is crisp and clear at all times.

Surround use is constant with the many sounds of the underwater sequences or the ocean waves when above water. The mix manages to immerse into the experience with a level of clarity that cannot be denied.

Overall the mix is top notch. No, it does not compare to the mix on a feature film, but this is very good for a documentary. Technically I found the audio mix to be flawless in presenting the material, but in comparison to the best mixes on the Blu-ray format it doesn’t stand out. 8/10.

The Extras
No extras are included on this Blu-ray 3D release. The extras that were included on the original 2D Blu-ray release are not included on this release. The extras included on the previous release, NOT included on the Blu-ray 3D release are:

Filming IMAX: Under the Sea (7:17) (SD)
This is a quick but entertaining behind-the-scenes look of production. The feature isn’t extensive by any means, which would have been a neat addition.

Expeditions (12:07) (SD)
  • Papau New Guinea – New Britain
  • Papau New Guinea – Milne Bay
  • South Australia
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Indonesia
I did enjoy the behind-the-scenes featurette included on the previous Blu-ray release. The ‘Expeditions’ features are nothing memorable and really won’t be missed. Unfortunately the lack of extras does drop the overall value of this release, definitely makes it easier to wait for a price drop. 0/10.

The Movie
I did not see ‘IMAX: Under the Sea’ in theaters, but I really enjoyed the original Blu-ray release. I knew a 3D release was inevitable and Warner Home Video didn’t take long with the release, launching it among their first wave of Blu-ray 3D releases.

The film is short, but quite enjoyable for the 41 minute runtime. ‘IMAX: Under the Sea’ is directed by Howard Hall and narrated by Jim Carrey. What I loved most about ‘Under the Sea’ is the up-close look at the many sea creatures with such incredible clarity.

The original Blu-ray release always featured such impressive clarity that it actually had 3D depth and pop and I knew it would benefit nicely from a 3D experience. To be honest, the film in 3D actually enhances the experience even more with some incredible ‘in the room’ moments with certain sea creatures.

The biggest complaints I have seen in regards to this film are the heavy focus on cuttlefish and the narration by Jim Carrey. I actually didn’t mind either, but I will admit Jim Carrey’s narration was not as satisfying as those found on other ocean documentaries.

The documentary isn’t the most informative I have seen, but I did enjoy the family appeal of the content. This documentary includes some of the best underwater footage I have seen and with such great clarity and detail that will engage viewers of all ages.

Overall I enjoyed the documentary very much; it is a visual experience that anyone with interest should see in 3D or 2D. I watched the original Blu-ray release on my high-def projector (which is fantastic), but the Blu-ray 3D experience is also an experience worth having. 8.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
IMAX: Under the Sea’ is an entertaining documentary with a great Blu-ray 3D release. The video presentation is stunning in both 3D and 2D, the audio mix is also quite impressive. No extras are included on this release. Overall the Blu-ray 3D is 'Recommended' to fans of the film and ‘Worth a Look’ for those just interested in some underwater 3D content.

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