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Wild Ocean (IMAX) Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC Full HD 3D (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio5.1
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 2, 2010
  • List Price: $24.98

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BestBuy.com:
Wild Ocean - Widescreen Dubbed 3-D Dts

Purchase Wild Ocean on Blu-ray 3D at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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)

Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not specific to this release were previously published as our Wild Ocean (IMAX) Blu-ray Review

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Between May and July off the coast of Southern Africa, millions of sardines spawn and migrate north along the coast of South Africa. This annual event creates a massive feeding frenzy that is one of the most spectacular natural events in the world. Filmed by the same directing team who gave the world the musical Stomp, Wild Ocean sets its large format lens on this massive natural event that has come to be known worldwide as the sardine run. Sharks, dolphin, tuna, and birds such as gannets all gather to feast on the massive shoals of sardines and chase them up the coast.

This IMAX presentation breathtakingly captures the imagery and splendor of the events as they unfold; both underwater and on land as even the people of South Africa get into the act taking advantage of the annual bounty that the sea gives up. There is hardly a moment in Wild Ocean where the screen is not filled with captivating imagery.

But, the title, Wild Ocean, is a bit misleading, because its focus is squarely on the sardine run and not the ocean itself. As such, there is not much underwater photography, and much of the imagery in Wild Ocean takes place above the surface. There’s also a heavy focus on the human impact of fishing, as to be expected, but the off hand remarks about global warming’s effects on the sardine population feel more like obligatory comments than anything relevant to this particular film. Wild Ocean still delivers what an IMAX title is supposed to do, however, and that is some beautiful eye candy.

The 3D imagery of Wild Ocean is some of the better underwater 3D capture I have seen and it adds to the enjoyment of the film immensely. That is not to say that watching Wild Ocean isn;t already pleasant enough in 2D, but one can certainly tell that this is a film meant for the 3D realm.

Video Quality

HD:[Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]

Wild Ocean arrives on Blu-ray 3D in a 1.85:1080p/24 MVC Full HD 3D encoding from Image Entertainment that looks absolutely splendid. Both the 2D and 3D versions are contained on the same disc, but the 2D version here differs slightly from the previously released version in that the aspect ratio has been changed from 1.78:1. In the 2D, colors are vivid, detail is sharp, blacks are deep and contrast does not clip. There are no compression or processing issues and the source looks immaculately clean. The picture sometimes softens ever-so-slightly, most likely due to the resizing of the image rather than the encoding, but other than that this is great reference material.

All the above carries over for the 3D image, which looks solid, but suffers the same occasional lapsing into softness. Issues with the brightness aren’t a problem even with the 3D glasses on and detail remains strong. The 3D effect varies widely in this production, sometimes showing a nearly flat, 2D image without much depth of field and other times displaying heavy “pop out” effects, particularly that of water bubbles underwater. Despite its inconsistencies, its still a good 3D release, and definitely reference quality with very little artifacts to get in the way of the entertainment and low crosstalk/ghosting or framing issues, which seemed to have plagued the recent Warner underwater 3D titles.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Wild Ocean’s English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack sounds big and theatrical, just as you’d expect an IMAX presentation to sound. Foley effects are panned around the surrounds, there is oodles of ambience and low frequencies are greatly extended. The narration in the center channel did get lost just a little bit on a couple occasions, but it was clean and crackle free.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The supplements here are all in HD and they do extend the theme of the film nicely for a good, but not great, added value.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Interview with Directors (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 2D; 0:15.56)
  • Kwazulu Natal During the Run (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 3D; 0:06.31)
  • Behind the Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 2D; 0:08.39)
  • Recording Wild Ocean (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 2D; 0:02.23)
  • Shooting Wild Ocean (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 2D; 0:07.13) – Photo montage
  • Trailers
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Wild Ocean joins in the long line of IMAX titles from Image Entertainment that offer up captivating imagery of the natural world in a reference-quality high definition Blu-ray release. If nature is your thing and you’re looking to show off that home theater, then Wild Ocean is the title for you. With IMAX’s long history of 3D productions, they should know how to do it right, and right they do, putting out a strong showing with this first crop of Blu-ray 3D efforts that all 3D early adopters should snatch up.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B00428CCOI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Wild Ocean - Widescreen Dubbed 3-D Dts

Purchase Wild Ocean on Blu-ray 3D at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD:[Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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