- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Dutch, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: G
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Warner Home Video/IMAX
- Blu-ray Release Date: March 30, 2010
- List Price: $35.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
In IMAX Under the Sea, filmmaker Howard Hall’s dazzling undersea imagery is paired with the narration of comedian Jim Carrey, doing his best serious voice with just a hint of pleasant humour for an amazing journey beneath the waves of the South Pacific.
From the Coral Triangle to the famous Great Barrier Reef, viewers can witness the mating rituals of giant cuttlefish, spy sea dragons drift by like all but seaweeds caught on an ocean current, and be dazzled by the multitudinous colors offered up by the coral and the fishes or the imposing fierceness of the great white shark.
Howard Hall, creator of previous IMAX films Deep Sea and Into the Deep, is nearly unmatched in this wonderful watery spectacle, fit for families of all sizes and kids of all ages.
Upon first impression, Under the Sea dazzles with its vibrant color reproduction and the excellent underwater photography, but further inspection reveals something amiss with this 1080p/24 VC-1 IMAX presentation.
Of course, for a large format film of such a recent vintage (2009), one would certainly not expect to see much in the way of source damage or even graininess, but the reformatting process to blow it up to a full frame 1.78:1 image would certainly render some grain and anomalies present; those all seem to be non-existent here. The image seems to have been scrubbed pretty clean and it looks too smooth and too soft. There are also numerous instances of motion jaggies and edge enhancement to obviously sharpen some of the details in underwater scenery. It becomes somewhat distracting to this reviewer and spoils the natural splendour of the underwater scenes at times.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is piled with soundstage filling foley effects that keep things lively, although low frequencies could have been boosted a tad. This is not as in-your-face as some of the IMAX soundtracks I am used to hearing from the Image Entertainment releases done by Big Picture DVD, but it is pleasant nonetheless. Jim Carrey’s narration sometimes tends to sink a bit to low in the mix, but it still remains intelligible and clean throughout. There’s also a nice directional use of the front channels as well.
The supplements on Under the Sea let viewers get behind the scenes on the production with the filmmakers through a brief “making of” featurette and a series of webisodes, labeled here as “expeditions” that grant a peak into the often taxing IMAX underwater filmmaking process.
The supplements provided on this release are:
Behind the Story:
- Filming IMAX: Under the Sea (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:07.17)
- #1: Papua New Guinea — New Britain (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:01.45)
- #2: Papua New Guinea — Mine Bay (1.78:1;1080i/60; 0:02.07)
- #3: South Australia (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:02.02)
- #4: The Great Barrier Reef (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:03.28)
- #5: Indonesia (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:02.44)
The Definitive Word
Under the Sea is not one of the better reference quality IMAX titles I have seen come along, but it offers enough moments of dazzling colors and breathtaking photography of marine life to please most nature and home theater enthusiasts. I’m sure it will sit well next to an already established collection of these sorts of titles.
Additional Screen Captures: