Published Feb 13, 2009My irrational fear of sea-life notwithstanding, Under the Sea 3D is a visually engaging, if somewhat uninformative, tour through the reefs surrounding Papua New Guinea and Australia. The 3D footage is spectacular, with the creepy creatures that inhabit the reef swimming off the screen and into the theatre in vibrant, duck-and-cover clarity. It's like being in the world's most high tech aquarium, and is the closest you can get to these bizarre life forms without actually strapping on a scuba suit and braving the sharp teeth and poisonous stingers of the deep sea.
Jim Carrey acts as your tour guide through the underwater kingdom, telling a little about each oddity you encounter but mostly letting the images speak for themselves. There are, of course, the required environmental warnings about global warming, carbon emissions and man's destructive nature but, thankfully, that message isn't the main focus and doesn't detract from the sit-back-and-enjoy-yourself beauty of the film.
Like most IMAX movies the experience is short, clocking in at around 45 minutes, providing only a taste of what lives in the reef, never going into any detail about the specific creatures you are introduced to. The lack of informative content is frustrating, as the amazing visual quality of the IMAX 3D film will have you wishing it were possible to watch full-length 3D documentaries about each of the creatures you see.
Despite my sea-life phobia, the scariest thing about Under the Sea 3D is the absolutely awful, saccharine-sweet, muzaktastic cover of the Beatles' "Octopus's Garden" at the end of the film. Even though the rendition of Ringo Star's quirky song is such a minor moment in the midst of a stunning experience it is so distractingly bad that it will shock you out of your enjoyable surround sound immersion and make you want to run screaming from the theatre.
But, other than that single moment of unpleasantness, Under the Sea 3D is a wonderful in theatre experience that will be impossible to replicate in your living room no matter how fancy your hi-def television. (Warner)