Monday, February 25, 2008

Arctic Tale Review

I feel really deeply mislead and frustrated by this film, as it's not at all a documentary. Filmed over the course of a decade following various polar bears and walruses the production staff manipulates the footage into the 'lives' of a polar bear and walrus suffering in the global warming afflicted arctic. I feel misled that this is called a documentary. For some reason the makers feel a compulsion to anthropomorphize the actions of the creatures rather than let nature speak for itself. March of the Penguins was so effective as a portrait in the year of the life of a penguin, it didn't need to pander and make silly design decisions to be effective. The other HUGE problem with this film is the snarky narration from Queen Latifah. Morgan Freeman and David Attenborough brought such majesty to the narration of March of the Penguins and Planet Earth that it is tough to listen to Latifah's 'humerous' remarks and observations. The film's reliance on pop-music to set mood is also a deep mistake. I do give it credit though because it does manage to extort some emotion out of the viewer, most notably when polar bear Nanu's "brother" dies and the numerous times the animals face death because of the changing climate atmosphere. While nowhere near as beautiful as the exquisite Planet Earth, Arctic Tale does manage to put some pretty great footage on the screen (especially the underwater work). Unfortunately nearly the exact material covered here was done more effectively in the 'Ice Worlds' episode of Planet Earth.

Overall Score: 4/10

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