IMAX - 1.44:1
Script by: Les A. Murray, John Weiley, Michael Parfit
Directed by: John Weiley
Starring: Alex Scott (narration), John Mills, Reginald Beckwith
Lumivision's Antarctica, one of the first DVD titles released here in the States, is a wonderfully entertaining documentary about that frozen continent located way down South of the border. And not only was it entertaining, but it was very educational as well! This IMAX presentation gives a detailed look at Antarctica, describing its environment as well as man's first attempts to conquer it. The gives forth to an excellent, though albeit generalized, look at what life exists in Antarctica, from seals, to penguins, to the scientists who work there and explore the region year round. Although the documentary is fantastic as a whole, the best segments deal with actual underwater footage showing seals and penguins in action, not to mention a tour through an underwater cavern located deep inside a glacier. Antarctica is narrated by Alex Scott, who provides the facts in a well-spoken and informative manner. Fascinating stuff here, and a documentary that is well worth adding to your collection!
As we mentioned earlier, Antarctica was released on DVD by Lumivision. Originally filmed in the 70mm IMAX process and shown theatrically with a 1.44:1 aspect ratio, the Antarctica transfer has been minutely cropped to what is a negligible degree - the tiny difference between the 1.44:1 original and your 1.37:1 TV is nothing you would ever notice. Overall, the image is very sharp and the color transfer accurate, but there were a couple of minor problems were have to mention. First, in the opening sequence, an "ice breaker" ship is shown - for a few second, the very red bow of the ship get somewhat blocky. Also, during most of the transitions (i.e. fading down to black, or fading up from black to an image), the fades themselves were strange looking - they weren't quite smooth, and they were again somewhat blocky. Aside from these two "difficulties," the transfer for Antarctica is fine, and the program itself is so good that you probably won't notice these anyway.
Antarctica comes complete with an English-language 6-channel Dolby Digital 5.1 surround stereo soundtrack. If you've ever seen any other IMAX productions, you know they put a lot of effort into creating the soundtrack, and the one here does not disappoint. No other language options are available.
The DVD does not features subtitles, nor is the program closed-caption encoded.
Antarctica's interactive menu features a single page allowing you to select any one of the disc's 6 chapters via text descriptions.
This DVD is "Available Worldwide" and will play in any player in any country (it does not have any regional coding). It is also compatible with DVD-ROM equipped multimedia computer systems. Antarctica comes packaged inside a standard, compact disc "jewel box," and the four-page booklet included within contains a listing of all 6 chapter markers. You should note that the catalog number listed on the "spine" of my copy (VCD0297) was incorrect...the correct number as labelled on the disc itself is DVD0297.
Review by Jeff Krispow
Original Review: 06/02/97
Last Updated: 08/22/97