Tuesday, March 26 2013, 11:18 PM MDT
Blu-ray Review: To the Arctic
To The Arctic
Street Date: March 26, 2013
Available On: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo
The Film: An IMAX documentary that focuses on a mother polar bear and her two cubs as they struggle to survive in the ever-changing environment of the Arctic.
The Extras: “Welcome to the Artic,” “Pristine” and “A Polar Bear Family” Featurettes
Blu-ray Exclusive Extras: 3D version of the film and “To the Arctic with Meryl Streep,” “Life Under Water” and “The Challenge of Filming in the Arctic” Featurettes
Recommendation: “To the Arctic” is a gorgeous documentary with a disjointed narrative. The central story about the mother bear and her cubs is interesting, but the filmmakers take many tangents away from her story to focus on other aspects of the Arctic. These snippets aren’t nearly as effective or informative as they need to be. They feel like teasers for other IMAX films rather than being a central part of the polar bear narrative. It doesn’t help that Arctic experts occasionally replace Meryl Streep, who narrates the majority of the film. Streep’s delivery tends to be rather ethereal whereas the other narrators tend to have a conversational tone.
Some might feel that it lays the “environmentalist agenda” on a bit thick, but the disappearing ice around the North Pole plays such a role in the film’s narrative that you can’t really blame the filmmakers for pausing to occasionally point out the dramatic impact that changes in the climate have had on polar bears and humans alike. Still, it could have been toned down a bit. I’d suggest that the filmmakers simply present the facts and trust that audiences are smart enough to understand the implications.
-Ryan Michael Painter