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Arctic Tale

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Narrated by: Queen Latifah

Narration written by: Linda Woolverton and Mose Richards and Kristin Gore

Directed by: Adam Ravetch & Sarah Robertson

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Making Of Arctic Tale, Are We There Yet? World Adventure: Polar Bear Spotting, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (15 Scenes)

Released: December 4th, 2007

 

 

Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Arctic Tale" looks rather fantastic: this is a crisp, film-like transfer that really transports you to the frozen locations featured in the documentary (mainly shot by co-director Adam Ravetch). The icy blues and whites are perfectly saturated, and detail is remarkable too - be it glaciers in the background or the hairs on the polar bears. The actual print used for the transfer is clean, and there is no edge enhancement. Slight noise pops up, but it's not too distracting. This is a very soothing, pleasing transfer that really captures the film's visual texture.

 

"Arctic Tale" is also given the English Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. It's a bit soft and pleasing, which perfectly fits the film. Joby Talbot's musical compositions hum blissfully through the channels, while some sound effects from the animals - namely the antics of the polar bears - help bring in a little more punch to the proceedings. Subwoofer use is not too major, while Queen Latifah's great narration is very clear and centered in the front.

A bevy of other audio and subtitle options are included: there are 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes in French and Spanish, plus an English Dolby Surround track. English closed captions are an option, as are subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
 



There are a few things. Making Of Arctic Tale is a 24 minute piece in anamorphic widescreen that gives a glimpse at the challenges directors Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson faced in making the documentary. Getting out there to shoot these cold-dwelling animals was by no means easy: harsh temperatures often forced the filmmakers to stay inside, and when they did get out it, it meant a good deal of traveling and hauling equipment. The piece is very much a video diary of the film's production, and with it are reflective interviews from the directors. I think older viewers of the movie will appreciate this more (sorry kids, it's more humans than animals), and it is a very engrossing take on the film's production: getting such incredible footage, and all the effort and struggles, is tightly documented here.

Are We There Yet? World Adventure: Polar Bear Spotting
is in non-anamorphic widescreen, and is aimed for the younger viewers of this DVD. In the course of a colorful 7 minutes, two youngsters search for polar bears in Canada. This piece is nicely produced, and is certainly educational, speaking on level with the younger audience. Oh, and there's more polar bears to see. How can you go wrong with that?

Rounding out the disc is the film's Theatrical Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen.

 

"Arctic Tale" flew under the radar at the box office in the summer of 2007, but this documentary is well worth checking out on DVD, especially for families. The sparse extras are well made and give insight into the film's production and polar bears in general; while the film's presentation is quite beautiful. Make sure you bundle up when watching!