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Movie time: 'Under the Sea 3D' cheaper than actual scuba diving

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DeepSea3D.gifLooking for something to do this weekend? Does your Valentine have an unusual fascination with the ocean? If so, you may want to check out the latest offering at Navy Pier's IMAX theater. I was fortunate enough to catch an early screening and managed to jot down these words about it.

There are some great moments during the unbelievably lifelike "Under the Sea 3D," the newest IMAX offering, which is essentially "Finding Nemo" coming to life. Menacing water snakes, sharks and other sea creatures pop out at the audience in such a manner that you'd think you just payed for expensive scuba-diving lessons.

This well-shot documentary captures the majesty of the oft-unseen world that lies beneath the ocean's surface, but it has one inherent flaw: What you see is what you get.

Under the Sea" relies too heavily on the element of visual simulation. It is, at its essence, a 40-minute documentary souped up to dazzle the eyes. When the initial thrill wears off, there's not a lot of mystery left.

Directed by Howard Hall, the film takes viewers to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations and face-to-face with some of the most bizarre ocean inhabitants. Narrated by actor Jim Carrey, it submerges us below the surface, where many scientific oddities and interspecies relationships loom into view.

The usually antic Carrey gives a pretty vanilla performance as he describes the action, but manages to inject some subtle humor. Still, the narrative takes a backseat to the visuals at every turn.

This isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, of course. The shots are so clear and realistic that on more than one occasion, I felt compelled to reach out and touch the creature swimming past. Embarrassing, yes, but almost unavoidable.

Because it is an IMAX film and therefore limited in length, it's tough to assess the film by normal standards. But don't let that stop you from enjoying a feast for the eyes. Accept it for what it is: a look into an unseen world unlike any you've seen before.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on February 13, 2009 9:17 AM.

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