The dry and repetitious “Passage To Mars” lacks an emotional punch. Continue reading
“Wings of Life” is a picturesque, but dull Disneynature documentary. Continue reading
With a lot of money invested in restoration, the acclaimed World War II series comes to blu-ray in a set that certainly will be on the minds of history buffs this holiday. But before you shell out over a $100 on this set, there are few things to consider. First, the original aspect ratio of 4:3 (made for 70’s television) has been changed to 16X9 for widescreen viewing. While that means you won’t have to put up with those black bars along the sides of the picture in your home theater, it also means that the footage is up closer than originally shot, bringing out grain, flaws, and cutting off parts of heads in the process and is “affectionately” known in the industry as “pan and scan”, which sends videophiles through the roof in outrage. Continue reading
Howard Hall does the principal work in this IMAX presentation on Blu-Ray, directing, filming, and writing most of the narration. He previously has done other IMAX sea documentaries with great success. Narrated by Jim Carrey, the film covers species around the coral reefs of the world and their unique ways of protecting themselves, their mating habits and rituals and the symbiotic relationships some have formed. Highlights include the cuttlefish, the great white shark (filmed outside of a cage), Australian sea lions, beautiful jellyfish, sea dragons, and sea snakes.Without getting too heavy handed, the narration also sends the message that the changing climate caused by global warming is killing off some of these areas and animals.
The blu-ray picture is what you’d expect; the colors and detail are stunning and the additional sounds and enhancements in surround sound make this a quite entertaining film, even though it is way too short (40 minutes). The film was originally made for a 3D IMAX presentation but this disc is 2D. Extras on the disc include a ten minute advertisement about the film (making of feature) and some extra footage in each area they filmed in. This is worth watching just to see the incredible amount of equipment needed to film an IMAX film; the camera alone weighs in at about 1300 pounds and can only take 3 minutes of film at a time before it has to be reloaded. It takes an enormous amount of crew and transportation to get the filmmakers where they need to go.
I can highly recommend this short film that studies sea life and captures some rare moments. The narration is family friendly and the film can be enjoyed by all members of the family. Rated G.