You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Under the Sea 3D

Gorgeous, informative and as gripping as a shark's jaws, "Under the Sea 3D" reps the apotheosis of the Imax 3-D form.

Narrator: Jim Carrey.

Gorgeous, informative and as gripping as a shark’s jaws, “Under the Sea 3D” reps the apotheosis of the Imax 3-D form. As close as you can get to the feel of deep-sea diving without risking decompression sickness, this superbly mounted item from veteran underwater helmer Howard Hall and his team should score with viewers of all ages.

Pic’s 2006 predecessor, “Deep Sea 3D” (also released by Warner Bros.), is the second highest-grossing Imax 3-D movie to date, so it made good sense to bring Hall back for another venture. (Previous underwater Imax outings include “The Living Sea” and “Into the Deep.”) The ocean remains an inexhaustibly mesmerizing subject, and “Under the Sea” is that rare movie that leaves viewers wanting more.

Whereas “Deep Sea 3D” examined ocean waters off the Americas (California, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, the Bahamas), “Under the Sea 3D” plumbs the seas of the Southern Hemisphere, shooting in and around Papua New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia. Narrator Jim Carrey — a curious but not inappropriate choice for tour guide — introduces a variety of South Pacific marine life and explains the basic principles of oceanic interdependence.

From the relatively familiar (sea lions, sharks, turtles) to the more exotic (giant cuttlefish, frogfish, crown jellyfish), the pic captures its kaleidoscopic images with inimitable Imax clarity and a mind-blowing immediacy, made all the more remarkable by the 3-D format. (Kids aren’t the only ones who’ll be reaching out to bat away an approaching sea snake.)

More a collection of dazzling images than a sustained narrative documentary, “Under the Sea 3D” has no shortage of unforgettable sequences: A sea turtle gingerly consumes an entire jellyfish, carefully shielding its eyes in self-protection; the color-changing cuttlefish engage in an elaborate mating ritual; a flock of sea lions playfully nose the camera. In one of several shots that rise to the level of visual poetry, a virtual harem of garden eels bends and bows in graceful unison.

While “Deep Sea 3D” focused on oceanic biodiversity, “Under the Sea 3D” imparts a message of ecological sustainability. In simple, deliberate terms, Carrey spells out the consequences of continued climate change on ocean life. That message may feel a bit redundant — even heavy-handed — to grownups these days, but it’s undeniably effective, as the stunning underwater ecosystem is its own best testimonial about the sanctity of ocean life. 

A correction was made to the credits on February 10, 2009.

Popular on Variety

Under the Sea 3D


Production: A Warner Bros. release of an Imax presentation. Produced by Toni Myers, Michele Hall. Executive producer, Graeme Ferguson. Directed by Howard Hall. Written by Hall, Toni Myers, Graeme Ferguson.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor, Imax 3-D), Hall; editor, Myers, music, Mickey Erbe, Maribeth Solomon; sound design, Courtney Bishop; line producer, Judy Carroll; associate producer, Todd Fellman. Reviewed at the Bridge, Los Angeles, Feb. 3, 2009. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 35 MIN.

With: Narrator: Jim Carrey.

More Film

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content