Anymore, specialty IMAX features seem to be about nature or dinosaurs. It’s repetitious to be watching another underwater creature 3D film, but it’s hard to deny the entertainment value of seeing rare monstrosities and beautiful mysteries jumping out of the screen and scurrying about at what feels like an arm-length away. No matter how limited the subject matter, the effects of IMAX are always outstanding. Clocking in at less than one hour, Under the Sea doesn’t outstay its welcome and gives us a tidy look at some of the coral reef’s most impressive wildlife. Jim Carrey narrates and manages to only rarely inflect his recognizable comedically exaggerated voice.
Starting in New Guinea and working around the southern coral reefs of Australia, Under the Sea investigates the lives of many fascinating fishes. From the stonefish, the most venomous fish in the sea, to sea snakes, the most poisonous animal in the ocean, the audience is subjected to a myriad of stunning sea life. The coral triangle where the film starts is home to more marine species than anywhere else on Earth, including the alien presence of cuttlefish, symbiotic shrimp and gobies, squid, jellyfish and more. Australia’s 12,000-year-old Great Barrier Reef houses schools of convict fish (the food of the adults is still completely unknown; some scientists speculate that the babies feed them slime, while others predict they consume their own young), rare sea dragons, great white sharks, whales, sea lions and more.
As if meeting a requirement, Under the Sea also delivers a public service announcement insisting that humans need to start caring about the environment; harmful carbon dioxide is rapidly destroying the reef and making it impossible for the various sea life to survive. The final moments show the leisurely, playful sea lions adorably snuggling up to the camera – had they shown the hideous stonefish instead, the effects would be completely different, even though they are just as wondrous.
While all of the IMAX films deliver an engaging 3-D experience, Under the Sea takes the adventure one step further (or closer) by bringing its fascinating subject so near to the viewer one can’t help but reach out just to make sure they’re still in a theater. Every underwater being appears literally within touching distance, giving the audience the impression that they are the divers filming these wonders of nature. Jim Carrey’s narration may contain interesting facts about the seldom seen proceedings, but it’s hard to pay attention to his voice when you’re dodging looming sea snakes and schools of catfish.
– The Massie Twins (www.GoneWithTheTwins.com)