Film Review: Earth Day Honored With IMAX Film ‘To the Arctic 3D’

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CHICAGO – A second major Earth Day film has emerged from the weekend, along with Disney Studio’s “Chimpanzee.” The documentary “To the Arctic 3D,” narrated by Meryl Streep, is a cautionary and virtuous look at life on the ice caps at the top of the world. The IMAX film has a spectacular vision, showing a planet’s necessary ecosystem in a troubling meltdown state. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The doc is paired with a soundtrack by Paul McCartney, and has such phantasmagoric imagery it’s possible the brain can slip into Yellow Submarine mode. The whole thing works because it is stark and bold in its assertion that greenhouse gasses are ruining a part of the world that keeps every other living thing on the rest of the planet in balance. With supporting roles by the lifeforms that inhabit this part of the world, it is undeniable proof that this situation will keep affecting our climate for the unforeseen future. The IMAX formatted cameras also offer 3D renderings that are breathtaking.

Filmed over a period of four years in the Arctic Circle, director Greg MacGillivray exposes a part of the world that is remote and wild, but teeming with life. His cameras capture the dynamic change between freezing and melting, within the landscape of huge, glacial Arctic ice forms. The nature includes underwater amoebas – it’s the first time cameras have gone down there – walruses (in this case, the walrus isn’t Paul), musk oxen, native birds, migrating caribou and of course, polar bears.

In the highlight of the film, the production team got unprecedented access to a mother polar bear and her two cubs. The observation of this family occurred as a surprise. The ice floes around one of the filming ships had the mother hopping around it. Not only could they film the interaction between the kin – the bears are notoriously hard to get close to – but it also captured a male predator as he chased the family from ice floe to ice floe. It is as compelling as a cliffhanger, more so because it is reality.

“To the Arctic 3D” has a limited release in IMAX theaters on April 20th, including Chicagoland. Check local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring narration by Meryl Streep and songs by Paul McCartney. Written by Stephen Judson and directed by Greg MacGillivray. Rated “G”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “To the Arctic 3D”

Mama Polar Bear and her Two Cubs in ‘In the Arctic 3D’
Mama Polar Bear and her Two Cubs in ‘To the Arctic 3D’
Photo credit: Shaun MacGillivray for Warner Bros. Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “To the Arctic 3D”

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