Case Number 16299: Small Claims Court

BLU SEA TRILOGY (BLU-RAY)

The Living Sea
Image Entertainment // 1995 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Dolphins
Image Entertainment // 2000 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Coral Reef Adventure
Image Entertainment // 2003 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // May 5th, 2009

The Charge

See the beautiful Blu Sea!

The Case

The ministry of information has helpfully provided us with this helpful FAQ for those contemplating whether or not to purchase this box set of IMAX documentaries.

What's this set all about? -- The Blu Sea Trilogy offers three popular IMAX films about ocean life in high definition. The three films included are Dolphins, The Living Sea, and Coral Reef Adventure, the titles of which are fairly self-explanatory.

What sort of interesting tidbits can I expect to learn from watching these films? -- These documentaries are primarily focused on providing the viewer with beautiful images rather than detailed information about the subjects of the films, but you'll still find all of these films mildly educational (kids will probably learn more than adults). For instance, Dolphins offers an examination of why the dolphin is regarded as one of the world's most intelligent creatures, and also offers a look at the many ways in which they have suffered at the hands of man. The Living Sea offers similar conservational themes, offering a brief history of the ocean and the many forms of life that it supports. "We live because the sea lives," is the primary theme here, and that theme is explored by offering brief stories from around the world. Finally, Coral Reef Adventure explores the question of why certain coral reefs are dying. Who wants to bet that man is involved? Over the course of the investigation, we meet a wide variety of creatures who call coral reefs home.

I think ocean life is great, but I really need some star power to help convince me. What celebrities are involved here? -- You're in luck, because you get celebrity narrators and musicians on each of these films. Dolphins is narrated by Pierce Brosnan, The Living Sea is narrated by Meryl Streep, and Coral Reef Adventure is narrated by Liam Neeson. As you might expect, all three individuals do a fine job with their narration duties, particularly Brosnan. Additionally, both Dolphins and The Living Sea feature musical numbers from none other than Sting, while Coral Reef Adventure is treated to tunes from Crosby, Stills & Nash. Admittedly, many of the songs used here seem to have next to nothing to do with the images they accompany, but a good song is a good song, right?

Are there any noteworthy annoyances? -- A few, but they're relatively minor. For instance, I didn't care for the cheesy animated dolphins that appeared as special effects every so often in Dolphins. Such images seemed to cheapen the beauty of the film, as does the wacky font used for the main title sequence. On the flip side, The Living Sea becomes a tad portentous at times, verging close to becoming too self-important and stuffy (though ultimately proving engaging). My biggest problem with this set is the fact that all three films are included on separate discs. The three films are about 127 minutes combined, and everything is about 4 hours if you include the supplements. All of these could have easily been included on a single disc and offered at a discounted price. As it is, you'll probably have to pay at least 40 bucks for this set.

I have a right to expect that all of these films receive knockout transfers. Is that the case? -- You bet. These films all look absolutely fantastic in hi-def, offering gorgeous portraits of nature living in our oceans. Dolphins in particular is just beautiful, with its elegant portraits of dolphins leaping through the water with graceful precision. The Living Sea tends to focus more on sweeping, wide shots that attempt to soak in as much as possible without losing detail. It's lovely in a somewhat more detached manner. Coral Reef Adventure is the most intimate of the three from a visual perspective, offering extreme close-ups that linger on the many details and nuances of assorted creatures. All three films benefit from tremendous detail, deep blacks, and accurate flesh tones. The audio is excellent on all three films as well, with the vibrant soundtracks blending with rather immersive sound design. As with most IMAX films, we rarely seesomeone speaking onscreen, but mostly hear narration from our celebrities and a wide variety of experts on the subject matter at hand.

What kinds of extras do we get? -- All three films receive making-of documentaries that are roughly a half-hour each. These are well worth checking out, as they are easily as interesting as the films themselves from a purely informational perspective, even if they lack the splendid visuals of the features. The process of making a film in IMAX format is a very complicated one and it's led to a lot of very interesting making-of documentaries on many of these discs. Good stuff that helps compensate for the rather short running times of the actual films.

Time for truth: do I need to purchase this set? -- If you have kids in your household, this set is worth a look. They'll find these films engaging and educational. Adults may enjoy the lovely images offered here, but I suspect that many older viewers may find the content of these brief documentaries a bit too lightweight for their liking.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2009 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Living Sea
Judgment: 87

Perp Profile, The Living Sea
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 EX (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Living Sea
* Documentary

Scales of Justice, Dolphins
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Dolphins
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 EX (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Dolphins
* Documentary

Scales of Justice, Coral Reef Adventure
Judgment: 86

Perp Profile, Coral Reef Adventure
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 EX (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Coral Reef Adventure
* Documentary

Accomplices
* IMDb: Dolphins
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0263278/combined

* IMDb: The Living Sea
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0113676/combined

* IMDb: Coral Reef Adventure
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0270291/combined