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