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Case Number 18660: Small Claims Court

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IMAX: Under The Sea

Warner Bros. // 2009 // 41 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // April 5th, 2010

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge James A. Stewart plans to take up diving—if he can do it in his living room.

Editor's Note

Our review of IMAX: Under the Sea (Blu-ray), published April 7th, 2010, is also available.

The Charge

"A world beyond imagination."

The Case

The world under the sea is familiar to divers like Howard Hall, who went to places like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef to show the rest of us his world in IMAX: Under the Sea. Hall's world, as seen through underwater cameras and described by Jim Carrey (The Mask) includes a crawling shark, sea snakes, eels, and a leafy sea dragon, to name just a few of the creatures shown.

I don't quite have an IMAX screen, so some of the effect is undoubtedly lost, but Under the Sea looked darned good on my set. Colors, naturally emphasizing the ocean's blue, were eye-popping, and I could pick out a leafy sea dragon hiding amid underwater plants with no trouble.

On a smaller screen, Under the Sea can feel a bit like a video aquarium or some other DVD intended for relaxation. You could feel yourself slowly mesmerized by the creatures swimming by, even, oddly, by the ones that eat other creatures. The movie's calm, quiet tone makes you forget life is tough down there, and perhaps forget about your problems up here as well.

I never expected to be saying this, but Jim Carrey has a soothing, relaxing tone as a narrator, quite different from the manic energy you'd expect. It's definitely him, and there's some humor in there, but he fits in remarkably well with the gentle mood of Under the Sea. The music is varied and well-chosen; I particularly liked a romantic tune amusingly played over a fishy love triangle. All of this sounds good here.

A 7-minute making-of, "Filming IMAX: Under The Sea," has some interesting moments as it shows the crew handling a heavy camera and tells of a volcanic interruption of filming, but the tone's a little too promotional for my taste.

The quiet, gentle atmosphere created by IMAX: Under the Sea probably makes it one of the better IMAX choices for home viewing, keeping more of the theatrical experience intact. Still, it was originally in 3-D, so you'll want to track down a big-screen showing if you're after the full experience.

The Verdict

This deep see dive is not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 41 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated G
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette


• IMDb

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