Itching to escape your daily routine? Hankering to go on an exotic vacation, but don’t see that happening in the near future? Want to get really close to a great white shark without the fear of, you know, being eaten? Look no further than the spectacular Under the Sea, which is guaranteed to pull you quickly into its fascinating underwater world and make you forget about all of life’s troubles, if only for forty minutes.
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I thought when I heard about the IMAX film Under the Sea was, “Another ocean-based IMAX movie? Haven’t there already been like twenty of those?”
Yes, yes… maybe there have been a lot of IMAX titles featuring creatures with fins, blowholes, scales and pinchers, but believe me when I say there’s room for another. Under the Sea is nothing short of amazing — it’s the kind of film that will put you under a spell. When you wake up from that spell, your problems will seem a bit more insignificant. Because, I mean, you could be a venomous stonefish, waiting patiently for days to eat. Or a cute little crab who’s about to fall prey to the lunging tentacles of a cuttlefish on the hunt. Or a sea lion who… oh, wait. Sea lions are always carefree and joyful! They have no problems!
Actually, they do. Jim Carrey — who admirably narrates the film with great restraint — reminds us gently that the coral reefs of the world are in grave danger because of rising atmospheric temperatures and ocean acidification. But he doesn’t go overboard with his warnings, as the point of the film is really to celebrate the unbelievable array of sea life, and highlight individual species’ unique characteristics.
Because of the IMAX format, you truly feel like you are right beside diver and director Howard Hall (Into the Deep, Deep Sea) and his team. What’s even more incredible are the sounds captured — the crunching and slurping of a cuttlefish enjoying dinner was totally disgusting, yet thrilling at the same time. When the creatures aren’t providing interesting audio, the still of the water is supplemented by appropriate instrumentals… or Doris Day’s “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” during a scene spotlighting the frustrating cuttlefish mating ritual.
Its short length and eye-popping colors make Under the Sea very amenable to the attention spans of young children. Everything else about the film makes it a winner for adults. While you won’t be able to experience it in 3D as it was originally shown in theaters, on the DVD version you will be treated to a short “making of” bonus feature. It covers how Hall and his crew spent over three months filming across the Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
By the end of Under the Sea one thing is clear: it doesn’t matter how much technology advances, and it doesn’t matter how crafty Hollywood gets with CGI, there are no special effects like the ones created by Mother Nature.