Friday, May 1, 2009

Arctic Tale on Blu-Ray

On April 21st, Arctic Tale became available in Blu-ray format from Paramount Home Entertainment. On April 22nd, Earth Day, Disney's new movie premiered. Having seen both, here are my thoughts.

First, if you want to choose between the two, I recommend Arctic Tale over Earth. Both films have incredible coverage of animals in the wild, in the harshest environments imaginable, some shot from within (in Arctic Tale's case) the actual den of a polar bear. How they managed to do that, I have no idea!

But where the movies differ is their approach to the narrative.

While Earth is aptly narrated by James Earl Jones, it is definitely a serious documentary.

Themes include the melting polar ice caps and how polar bears are at risk of drowning as a result, the challenges faced by animals, like elephants and whales, who are having to travel further just to find fresh water or food sources as a result of global warming, and attacks from predators. This is a film that has, underlying the stunning coverage of polar bears, elephants and humpback whales (among other creatures), a wake-up call about the need for humans to do more to protect their environment lest we lose these species to extinction. Shades of An Inconvenient Truth, activism underlies every word. There is much more focus on the changing seasons, the brutal desert heat and the freezing tundras.

Although the goal is admirable, the movie, which is not at all long, clocking in at under two hours, dragged as a result. By about the eleventh time we were shown a stark snowy landscape, I'm sorry to say I was past boredom and counting down to the film's end.

Arctic Tale, on the other hand, doesn't aspire to such a serious agenda. We are invited to share in the lives of a polar bear family and a pod of walruses, as well as glimpse the creatures they come into contact with in all their furry, ferocious and cute "Awwww" moments.

And the movie is chock full of those moments, which will keep the kids glued to the screen with you.

Lively play among the pups is partnered with upbeat music, and other scenes also match catchy tunes with the aciton. The narration by Queen Latifah (who often works on children's projects) is more down-to-earth and just seems friendlier. Though I occasionally questioned the language choices, wondering if they were scripted or ad lib: "When Mom calls, and Mama is a polar bear, you best listen," for example, seemed a bit contrived--this movie is a great family film.

If your children love animals, they will warm to this adventure much more than to the stodgier, at times even pretentious eco-vehicle that is Disney's Earth.

I have Arctic Tale in the Blu-ray version, which means it includes among its extra features "The Making of Arctic Tale". This, in my opinion is a *must-see*. It took years to gather the footage for the film, and what the photographers go through, even the threat of attack from the polar bears themselves, is incredibly engrossing material.

Also on the Blu-ray version are a trailer and "Polar Bear Spotting," in case you get it into your head to go and try to film some polar bears yourself (hint: don't even think about it!).

Arctic Tale on Blu-ray was released April 21st, and retails for 34.95, though you should keep your eyes peeled for deals. Amazon has it On Sale for 19.99.

No comments:

Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.