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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > History > Ancient Animal Life > Environment > Nature > Water > Oceans > Ecosystem > IMAX/Image Entertainment Blu-ray 3D Wave: Dinosaurs Alive! (2007)/ Grand Canyon Adventure (2008)/Wild Ocean (2008/Image Entertainment)

IMAX/Image Entertainment Blu-ray 3D Wave: Dinosaurs Alive! (2007)/ Grand Canyon Adventure (2008)/Wild Ocean (2008/Image Entertainment)


3D Picture: B/A-/A-†††† 2D Picture: B/B+/B†††† Sound: B+/B+/B†††† Extras: C+†††† Films: C+/B-/B-



The Blu-ray 3D format continues to arrive and the titles continue to be top rate, with three new releases from IMAX and Image Entertainment offering the first large-frame format derived 3D and first authentic live action 3D (versus lame conversions) we have had a chance to look at and the three titles include two we have covered on regular Blu-ray before and two that are must-own titles.


Links are provided on the titles we covered before, which lead to more great IMAX material.These are fine early choices and are often as impressive as any of the CG or motion capture digital features we have covered in our first four titles reviewed.All of these titles have demo footage of some kind.



Dinosaurs Alive! (2007) is the oldest and most commercial of the three, with more computer animation than the others, solid narration by Michael Douglas and a production made to capture the tail end (no pun intended) of the dinosaur-mania the first Jurassic Park feature caused many years ago.Fortunately, the animation (more than usual for any IMAX release) is accompanied by trips to key locations (New Mexican sandstone buttes, Mongoliaís Gobi Desert) as real life paleontologists reveal key discoveries about the creatures that once were.I would have liked more science, but this is nicely done and Douglasí work is actually an involving plus.



Grand Canyon Adventure (2008)



To recap the previous coverage, narrated by Robert Redford with others who appear on screen joining in, this fine documentary does a solid job of showing and telling us how water is being depleted from the Grand Canyon in a way that would have been unthinkable not that long ago.At 45 minutes, it is rich, beautiful, engaging, often incredible and its arguments (scientific and otherwise) are pretty full proof, sound and valid.It succeeds in making the big statement about how bad things are and is a must-see IMAX film for all, now even more so in Blu-ray 3D and it is amazing how starkly memorable this is.



Wild Oceans (2008)



As environmentally relevant as Canyon, we recap as this was shot off of the coast in Africa, is one of the richest of many great IMAX films featuring sea life and though many such shows have popped up on TV lately shot in the latest High Definition video, nothing can beat the best shots from the original 70mm IMAX film frame.  This runs a healthy 45 minutes and is another great piece of work, now even more impressive in 3D.I really like some of the shots here and this is still a standout as compared to so many other documentaries on oceans and ocean life, which is not easy.I just wish it were longer than 40 minutes.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D Ė Full Resolution digital High Definition image on all these Blu-ray 3D releases have highlights and demo material, but Dinosaurs falls a bit short since its digital animation was limited to begin with and has not aged well.However, enough of the 3D effects work and enough of the live action 70mm footage looks good that it is still worth getting, but many scenes still do fall short including some 3D that does not work as well, so know it is the disc and not your equipment.The 2D version has some of the same problems, with both 3D & 2D versions showing some slight staircasing for whatever reasons despite this release being conceived for 3D to begin with.Color, Video Black, Video White and the source are just fine.The 3D on Canyon really delivers some of the best 3D I have seen in the format to date as expected, looking so good in the 2D Blu-ray we reviewed before, I could imagine what it was going to look like, but this 3D version even surpasses those expectations.The 2D here is the best looking 2D of the three releases here, but the 3D is even more amazing and is strongly recommended as an early disc to get.Ocean is just about as impressive, but even more so because of the gap between how great the 3D image plays versus some of the shortcomings of the 2D edition and version on this new release.The way the water reproduces will amaze you and the ocean life is as stunning as ever.Depth on these latter two films, along with great 3D performance to match will sell 3D systems more than just about anything we have seen to date.


All three titles also feature DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes that are also great, though Ocean still has its voice over narration can be too much towards the center channel.However, all were originally issued in the IMAX state of the art Sonics-DDP sound format, so they all have great soundfields and will impress anyone playing them on a great home theater system.The mix on Dinosaurs helps to make up for its visual issues, while Canyon lands up with the best picture/sound combination of the three in 2D and especially 3D.I canít wait to see more IMAX productions in the Blu-ray 3D format and after seeing these, youíll feel the same way, proving that the format is more than just for kids and families.


Extras in all formats include BD Live interactivity, trailers for other IMAX releases (some in 3D) and behind the scenes/making of featurettes.Dinosaurs adds the Meet The Creatures Educational Section with text and video on the title characters, Canyon adds a Music Video, Conservation Tips, Sample The Soundtrack feature, text & video on Director Greg McGillivray and intended-to-be-humorous Naturalist video clips.Ocean adds an Interviews With The Directors featurette and three shorter video clips of interest: Kwazulu Natal During The Run about the African provinceís annual sardine run, Recording Wild Ocean sound recording process and Shooting Wild Ocean showing the production through a series of stills.



For more IMAX Blu-ray 3D coverage, try these links:


IMAX Deep Sea 3D



IMAX: Under The Sea 3D/IMAX Space Station 3D



Ultimate Wave Tahiti/Dinosaurs: Giants Of Patagonia/Mummies: Secrets Of The Pharaohs/Ultimate Gís: Zacís Flying Dream




-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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