DVD Review: IMAX Deep Sea
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Distributor: Warner Home Video
· Howard Hall
· Johnny Depp
· Kate Winslet
· IMAX Official Website
by R.J. Carter
Published: March 27, 2007
Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet provide the narration over some of the most stunning IMAX underwater photography ever brought to the screen. The lighting and camerawork ensure that none of these scenes are the dark and murky ocean voyages we've seen so many times before.
Among the many wonders you'll see in this deep see adventure is the triton trumpet snail. Now, you may not think of snails as great defenders of... well, just about anything. But for the coral reef, the trumpet snails are Batman. You see, the coral reefs have many natural enemies, among them, the Crown of Thorns sea stars, which feed on the coral. If there are too many of them, they can destroy a reef. Enter the trumpet snail, and a high speed... er... slow speed chase. See, the Crown of Thorns sea star is covered with venomous spines -- to which the snail is immune! So the snail overtakes the sea star and -- yummo! -- eats it.
Coral reefs also have areas that serve as cleaning stations that we'll visit, places where sea creatures show up to have their scales and shells cleaned of algea by little tiny dermatologist fish. Sea turtles swim thousands of miles for the treatment. So do barracuda, who strangely call a truce against the little fish who clean them. Outside the cleaning area, all bets are off, though.
Exfoliation Station. Sea turtles are one of many creatures
that come to the undersea cleaning areas.
Various kinds of jellyfish make their appearance, in swarms or individually, with smaller ones getting trapped in the 30 foot net of the monstrous "fried egg" jellyfish that eats them. Sea scallops make their escape from another sun star, rising and clattering like miniature sets of toy chattering teeth. And a little ten-inch California Mantis Shrimp uses his claws -- claws faster than a .22 caliber bullet! -- to take on an octopus, driving the eight-legged predator away.
Perhaps most miraculous of all are the scenes of the coral spawning, which they do like clockwork: exactly 8 nights after the full moon, one hour after sunset, all of them -- millions of them -- release their eggs into the water, in the nearly vain hope of finding purchase where they can hatch and grow.
Of course, the whole point of showing the audience such scenes of splendor and unanticipated balance between creatures is to bring attention to the disturbance of that balance. "In the last fifty years," says Depp, "ninety percent of all the big fish have been taken from the ocean. We are taking more than the ocean can give."
The narration is nicely done, with an even -- although not quite chatty -- back and forth between Depp and Winslet. The score, provided by Danny Elfman, adds to the ethereal quality of the whole thing. If you have a big screen television, this DVD is perfect for it, having been filmed in IMAX quality. And at slightly over 40 minutes, it's of a length that younger viewers can watch it through to the end without having their attention wander.
The screen proportions can be set to either 4x3 or 16x9. The audio can bee set to English, French, Spanish or Korean, with optional subtitling available in all four languages.
Previews on this disc include "Happy Feet", "Hoot", "Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home For Christmas", and "Saving Shiloh".