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IMAX: Under The Sea (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109941&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Warner Bros. - 2009
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 41 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Jim Carrey (narrator)
Directed by: Howard Hall
Music by: Micky Erbe & Maribeth Solomon
Written by:
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 30, 2010

"A world beyond imagination"

Film Synopsis:

Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Crabs wearing jellyfish for hats, fish disguised as frogs, colorful stones and dense shag carpets, a kaleidoscope of underwater life. Now, go explore it! The makers of Deep Sea and Into the Deep take you into tropical waters alive with adventure: the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms. Narrated by Jim Carrey and featuring astonishing camerawork, this amazing film brings you face to fin with Nature’s marvels, from the terrible grandeur (and terrible teeth) of a Great White to the comic antics of a love struck cuttlefish.

My Take:

The IMAX experience is ideal for this documentary’s subject matter as remarkable high-definition footage transports viewers to places human beings rarely see. It captures unique underwater worlds populated by exotic sea creatures and vistas that exist in an intriguing balance of nature. Filled with surprising facts and extraordinary images, IMAX under the sea is a dazzling portrait of aquatic life on our planet.

I tend to find documentaries like this to be fascinating and Under the sea didn’t disappoint me. The work required to capture the incredible footage requires strict dedication and the level of efficiency displayed here is amazing. The variety of exotic locations such as the 12,000 year old Great Barrier Reef, are stunning in high definition. Jim Carrey’s narration is very good although the narrative can be a little preachy in its message about the ocean’s 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 some of the planet’s most exotic and beautiful undersea environments and its inhabitants in an up close and intimate way. While some of its message may go over the heads of young viewers the stimulating visuals and interesting aquatic facts make for an entertaining film that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all 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.**

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

Audio: 84

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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

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

Video: 92

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

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

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

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

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

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

IMAX: Under the sea comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that boasts brilliant colors, superlative depth, and an abundance of high level detail. The nature defined color palette is alluring as the deep, vivid, reds, succulent blues, and resplendent earth toned hues leap from the 1.85:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on as the various shades of gray are gradationally revealing and whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which works hand in hand with the definitive shadow detail to provide low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. Resolution is superb as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three dimensional acuity that is 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.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack deliver the elements contained within this documentary film with aplomb. Jim Carrey’s running narration is rendered with clear articulation and smooth intonation. It probably could have been a bit more forward within the front soundstage but otherwise presented very well. The front three channels are integrated nicely and combine high level detail/clarity with pinpoint imaging. The music sounds great and comes across with appreciable top end air, smoothly rendered instrumentation, and discerning focus as its primary elements are delivered through the front speakers with low level rear channel ambience used to broaden the soundstage. The surrounds are effectively used to generate an enveloping soundscape that simulates the undersea world and its various sounds. LFE presence is notable as bass response extends deep enough to energize the room (effectively during the opening IMAX trailer sequence) in support of the recorded sounds and music. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but this in invigorating audio presentation that sounded great and mated perfectly with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Filming IMAX Under the sea – 7 minute making of featurette

  • Expeditions – A series of short webisodes that synopsize several locales featured in the film:

    1. Papua New Guinea - New Britain
    2. Papua New Guinea – Milne Bay
    3. South Australia
    4. The Great Barrier Reef
    5. Indonesia

Final Thoughts:

IMAX Under the sea is an amazing visual adventure that traverses some of the planet’s most beautiful and exotic underwater environments to show us an incredible and vast world that seems to exist on another plain. I was intrigued by the captivating imagery and fascinating facts about its aquatic life and deep sea environments. As you might expect IMAX Under the sea looks stunning on Blu-ray and features excellent lossless sound quality. The bonus supplements are comprised of a short behind the scenes look, including filmmaker interviews, and a series of on location webisodes. The making of piece isn’t bad however I would like to have seen the inclusion of a commentary track along with comprehensive background on the film’s production. Regardless, this is an entertaining documentary film that contains superlative imagery that makes for interesting viewing for those who enjoy beautifully shot nature style documentaries. If you’re a fan this disc is worthy of inclusion in your Blu-ray collection. Recommended.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/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)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel 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
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 8
Thanks for the review. This is a title that I somehow missed until now. I look forward to picking it up now.
post #3 of 8
Based on this review i'll definitely be Collecting this one.

post #4 of 8
Sounds teriffic to me! Thanks for another great recommendation, Ralph!
Joe B in NOLA
post #5 of 8
Thanks Ralph --
Just ordered it via Amazon for the new media room that will have a 65 panny plasma. Should look good and provide the WOW for the first impression.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lance_60031 View Post

Thanks Ralph --
Just ordered it via Amazon for the new media room that will have a 65 panny plasma. Should look good and provide the WOW for the first impression.


Glad to help and best of luck with your media room!

post #7 of 8
I've said it before: People on the fence, GET THIS (AND DEEP SEA) IN 3D!!! 2D just doesn't cut it! cool.gif
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by Taranteacher View Post

I've said it before: People on the fence, GET THIS (AND DEEP SEA) IN 3D!!! 2D just doesn't cut it! cool.gif

I couldn't agree more. These Imax films in 3D is what 3D is all about!
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