2007 Apr 05

DVD Review: Deep Sea – IMAX

When IMAX films are released on DVD you can be sure of one thing: you will lose some of the impact of the giant screen. There is simply no way for a film made with the expected result of an IMAX broadcast, to retain its impact when viewed on your 27″ living room television. So, when you lose the primary draw of the IMAX format, the film will live or die based on its content. Deep Sea has one foot in the grave. I so hoped to like it, and there are a few elements that I did like, but there was enough to drag it down. Which all makes the end result something of a frustrating experience.

Deep Sea was an IMAX 3D experience. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to experience it in that fashion; I can only believe that it was an impressive, engrossing spectacle. I have seen IMAX 3D, and it is truly amazing. If you have never experienced a film like this, you must. You have not seen 3D until you have seen IMAX 3D: this is not your daddy’s red/blue paper glasses style, this is the only way to see 3D films. Judging by what is on this DVD, I bet the effect was spectacular.

Let’s start with what makes this film a must see. The one, and really only, reason to check out this disk is the undersea footage, it is nothing short of breathtaking. Taking a dip into the depths of our oceans is truly like stepping into another world. There is no special effects house in the world that can match the natural wonders that are contained with the world of the real, although those effects companies are better at explosions.

The camera dips into the depths and captures amazing footage of octopi, squid, crabs, turtles, coral, and all manner of fish. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, all of which are magnificently on display. We see them in a variety of situations, from just sitting around, to hunting, to fleeing, to cleaning, to eating. All of this footage is downright mesmerizing. There are a good number of memorable scenes, including a shrimp taking on an octopus, squid that can change their skin color, turtles getting cleaned by schools of fish, among many others.

OK, that was the reason to watch, now for the downside. The narration is downright dull. Sure, it has the starpower of Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, lending their voices to the project, but it takes more than recognizable voices to make it interesting. Johnny Depp, in particular, sounds like he is bored and on the verge of falling asleep. They just sounded uninterested in what they were reading, and if you factor that in with the less than hard hitting information, it adds up to a less than stellar presentation.

None of the information they relayed is all that enlightening, but then I have a feeling that this was made more for the spectacle of the gigantic screen and the visual beauty than it was for the educational, more documentary-like narration. Perhaps I have been a bit spoiled by the Planet Earth series on The Discovery Channel.

The film is short, clocking in at 41 minutes in length. When you cut off the IMAX logos and opening/closing credits, you can knock off another 4 or 5 minutes. So, you can get a lot of beauty without having to expend a lot of time doing it.

The DVD looks great, the colors are all bright, crisp and well defined. It really is a joy to look at. The disk gives you the option of viewing in anamorphically enhanced widescreen or full frame presentations. Neither one is quite correct, although full frame is closer to preserving the original aspect ration. The IMAX ratio is, I believe, 1.44:1, so the 1.33:1 of full frame is the closest to seeing it as it should be. The audio is good as well, allowing you to clearly hear the underwater movements and Danny Elfman’s score.

Bottom line: This is definitely worth a rental, the footage is beautiful, and you will get to see a world into which we do not often look. The creatures captured on film are truly amazing and makes up for the lackluster narration.

Mildly Recommended.

Source: BlogCritics Magazine

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