IMAX: To the Arctic 3D (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-22-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/3D Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: IMAX - 2012
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 40 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: MVC/AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Meryl Streep
Directed by: Greg MacGillvray
Music by: Paul McCartney
Written by: Stephen Judson
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 26, 2013

"A story of love, family, and survival in the harshest place on earth"

Film Synopsis:

An extraordinary journey to the top of the world, the documentary adventure “To The Arctic” reveals a compelling tale of survival. Narrated by Oscar® winner Meryl Streep, the film takes audiences into the lives of a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs, as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home.
Captivating and intimate IMAX® footage brings audiences up-close and personal with this family's struggle in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls and majestic snow-bound peaks.

My Take:

The IMAX experience is ideal for this subject matter as remarkable high-definition footage transports viewers to places human beings rarely see. It captures unique worlds populated by animals and vistas that exist in an intriguing balance of nature. I find documentaries such as this to be interesting and am always astounded by the dedicated film crews that venture into the wild to make them possible.

This short documentary film, narrated by Meryl Streep, focuses on a polar bear family and their daily struggles to survive not only predatory dangers but those from an environment that due to warming is shrinking around them making food harder to find. This also affects other Arctic wildlife, such as caribou, sea lions and birds that rely on the ice and stability of the changing seasons. Meryl Streep’s narration is very good although the narrative can be a little preachy in its message about the Arctic ice deterioration due to environmental warming issues. I didn’t find it to be overly stated or annoyingly redundant though.

This film succeeds in its goal of presenting one of the planet’s harshest yet beautiful environments and its inhabitants in an up close and intimate way. It drives home its message while presenting a heartwarming vantage of familial polar bear life in a way that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for general audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 90

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

3D Presentation: 84

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Depth (Onscreen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

To the Arctic 3D come to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.

This IMAX 3D presentation boasts an abundance of high level detail, and beautifully rendered color. Contrast is spot on as the various shades of gray and blue are gradationally revealing while whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which provides low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. The digitally crafted opening sequence along with several CG generated visuals used to demonstrate the affects of warming patterns etc. make excellent use of the 3D platform and prove entertaining. Otherwise the 3D rendered video has an appreciable level of natural depth but none that catches the eye. The 1.78:1 presentation is whistle clean and free from distracting crosstalk/ghosting. Each of these Blu-ray releases includes an AVC encoded 1080p 2D presentation for viewers that haven‘t yet made the move to 3D.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack delivers the goods and sounds terrific. The running narration is rendered with clear articulation and smooth intonation. The front three channels are integrated nicely and combine high level detail/clarity with pinpoint imaging. The music, composed by Paul McCartney, sounds great as it is rendered with appreciable top end air, robust dynamics, and discerning focus. The surrounds are effectively used to generate an enveloping and involving listening experience. Bass response is appropriate in that it lends palpable low level extension in support of the recorded sounds and music. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but makes for an invigorating audio presentation that sounded great and mated perfectly with the source material.

2D Video Quality:

Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

To the Arctic comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps.

This is a resplendent high definition presentation that boasts natural color, superlative depth, and an abundance of high level detail. The nature defined color palette is alluring as vastness and scope of the visuals pop from the 1.78:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on as the various shades of gray/blue are gradationally revealing while whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which provide low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. Resolution is superb as the imagery appears lucid and visually stimulating. These beautifully captured images of our planet can be captivating as the richness of color, transparently rendered detail, and near infinite sense of depth and dimension are assuredly conveyed in high definition.

Bonus Features:

  • To the Arctic - 2D/3D (option) Blu-ray

  • (HD) Short feature: “Pristine” – 2 minutes

  • (HD) Behind the scenes featurette: Life under water – 3 minutes

  • (HD) Behind the scenes featurette: The challenges of filming in the Arctic – 3 minutes

  • (HD) Behind the scenes featurette: To the Arctic with Meryl Streep – 2 minutes

  • (HD) Behind the scenes featurette: A polar bear family – 3 minutes

  • (HD) Short feature: Welcome to the Arctic – 3 minutes

  • (HD) Trailer

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Captivating and intimate IMAX’s footage in To the Arctic brings audiences up-close and personal with this polar bear family's struggle in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls and majestic snow-bound peaks. Presented in either 2D or 3D on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video this documentary film makes for a rewarding audio/video experience that is well worth checking out.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-25-2013, 03:06 PM
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I think some of these modern documentaries and eye candy showpieces like IMAX films (which are always light on real, meaty substance) are not "preachy" enough and often times gloss over man-made and man-induced habitat destruction as if everything's rosy. There is a real danger here in the ever-shrinking polar caps, not only to wildlife, but to necessary sources of fresh water for everyone. You ought to see what's rapidly happening to the main glacial source of the Ganges River. Pretty scary stuff.

Definitely will give it a rent.

Also check out the Nat. Geo. documentary "Chasing Ice."

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-25-2013, 04:33 PM
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Ralph, thanks for the review! Would you say this (2D) is on par with/better than Planet Earth?
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-26-2013, 12:53 PM
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This is a very good documentary about the North Pole and the wild life in there. And also young people can see what can be destroied if we continue our life like we do now. To the Arctic 3D is a must see movie!
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-28-2013, 06:40 AM
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Thanks for reviewing this for us, Ralph! cool.gif

One thing that bothers me about IMAX 3D releases is their extremely high prices for such short films. I might rent this, or maybe pick it up when the price goes down drastically.

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post #6 of 6 Old 05-31-2013, 07:20 AM
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I saw this at an Imax Theater at Navy Pier in Chicago. I was disappointed with the 3D and the story was nothing new. In other words I found it a waste of time and money. I was at least hoping for some excellent 3D but even the wife said it was weak.
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