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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Water > Oceans > Ecosystem > Sea LIfe > Environment > Science > Geology > Large Frame > IMAX: Deep Sea 3D (2006) + Polar Express 3D (2004/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/2D) + IMAX: Hubble (2010/Warner DVD) + IMAX: Straight Up – Helicopters In Action (2002/Vista Point Blu-ray)

IMAX: Deep Sea 3D (2006) + Polar Express 3D (2004/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/2D) + IMAX: Hubble (2010/Warner DVD) + IMAX: Straight Up – Helicopters In Action (2002/Vista Point Blu-ray)


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



And now for a look at four more releases that have all been issued in the IMAX format, three of which were shot in IMAX 70mm film and all of note, including some in 3D.



Howard Hall’s IMAX: Deep Sea 3D (2006) is the latest of a cycle of great IMAX films that are made in the ocean, capturing it in a way never seen before.  We have covered several such titles over the years, including two on Blu-ray.  Here are the links to two of them:


Under The Sea 3D



Wild Ocean




Deep Sea 3D is co-narrated by Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp, spending most of its time showing us the greatest creatures the ocean has and the coral reefs that are vital and priceless to the whole ecosystem.  In the end, it takes a turn and lets us know about the dark side of things dealing with human abuse and overuse of the oceans.  Not preachy, it makes its points with few words and intelligently so.  The sites are amazing and in 3D, the actual 3D footage of the creatures is just as amazing as Under The Sea 3D which remains one of my favorite 3D demos.  This program now joins it, especially in the natural life category.


The 1080p MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray 3D portion is terrific and offers as much demo material as any Blu-ray 3D release to date among our 29 titles covered and counting.  The 1080p digital High Definition image on the 2D version is good, but sometimes looks detail challenged or very, very slightly off because it was shot in 3D and does not trade-down as well as it might for a live-action shoot.  I still like it.  I wished we had a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, but we only get a solid-at-best Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that has good surrounds, yet lacks warmth and fullness.  There are sadly no extras.



The new release of Polar Express 3D (2004) in Blu-ray 3D is the third release of the would-be Holiday/Christmas classic in a High Definition format after two 2D releases by Warner Bros. in 2D-only Blu-ray and a now discontinued 2D version in the defunct HD-DVD format.  We covered it in the latter at this link:




This Blu-ray 3D version offers the same 2D transfer as the previous versions with the same extras, except that the soundtrack here is a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that sounds compressed and is not any better than the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix used on the HD-DVD.  The 1080p MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition 3D image version has some good 3D effects, but some of them do not work and when all is said and done, it is only marginally better than the 2D version.  However, I prefer the 3D presentation, especially for a release I am not a big fan of.


Toni Myers’ IMAX: Hubble (2010) is a more interesting documentary work Warner has issued in Blu-ray 3D, but we start with the regular and only DVD version to date as Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the long and sometimes odd (i.e., unnecessary repairs at big expense) moments of the satellite telescope going from conception to producing some of the most amazing and groundbreaking images of outer space ever seen.  Especially in the IMAX frame, it shows the results to great effect, even on this 1.78 X 1 anamorphically enhanced DVD.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix fares better with good surrounds, but I expect the Blu-ray could easily surpass this version.  The only extra is the featurette Inside IMAX’s Hubble 3D.


Last but not least, David Douglas’ IMAX: Straight Up – Helicopters In Action (2010) is a solid work that introduces ups to the history of the helicopter, the early days of the autogyro and how that has built up to vertical takeoff jets, stealth vehicles and other specialty vehicles that are a big part of the future of flight.  Martin Sheen narrates this fun film that anyone who likes flight or machines will really want to see.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has some good demo shots, but sometimes this is not as sharp as often as I would have liked, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is limited and not lossless, holding back my enjoyment even more.  Still, this is as good as many of the IMAX Blu-rays we have seen to date and extras include an HD trailer, feature length audio commentary by Director Douglas and two featurettes: Careers In Action and Taking Off.


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


Dinosaurs Alive!/Grand Canyon Adventure/Wild Ocean



Ultimate Wave Tahiti/Dinosaurs: Giants Of Patagonia/Mummies: Secrets Of The Pharaohs/Ultimate G’s: Zac’s Flying Dream




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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