Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (IMAX) (2003)

by | Jul 13, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (IMAX) (2003)

Narrator: Ed Harris
Studio: Stephen Low Co./Image Entertainment
Video: Enhanced for widescreen 16:9
AUDIO: DTS 5.1, DD 5.1, English; DD 5.1 French
Extras: Behind-the-Scenes video, “Voyage Into the Abyss,” Education
video, Trivia quiz & film facts, Option of hearing isolated film
score by Michel Cusson
Length: Feature – 45 min.; Behind-the-Scenes – 18 min.; Educational video – 28 min.
Rating: ****

The IMAX documentaries are nearly always exciting and adventuresome
experiences.  Even though reduced down from the world’s largest
film format to NTSC video and from the dozens of speakers in IMAX
theaters to the two to six or seven in your own system, a good deal of
the spectacular format remains.  DVDs transferred from standard
35mm film don’t have this level of image resolution, and the wide angle
lenses often used make your screen seem more encompassing no matter its
real size.

Outer space and undersea are two of the favorite environments for IMAX
features.  (They are also better for projection in the Omnimax
theaters, which distort the image greatly to fit the 180-degree dome.)
But Volcanoes of the Deep Sea is not your typical undersea show and
tell. It concerns a very specific part of the ocean –  areas near
the intersections of the great tektonic plates at the mid-ocean ridge
where undersea volcanoes heat the water to high temperatures which yet
support a myriad of odd creatures.  One of them is a living fossil
which was on earth millions of years before the dinosaurs and still
lives near the volcanic vents.  We never do actually see this
wormlike creature – only its geometric burrows – but there are other
strange science-fiction-like denizens of the 12,000 foot depth.  A
species of shrimp is found to feed on  microscopic life which
shares part of its DNA with humans.  All these teeming life forms
– many so far unidentified – are fueled by the internal fires of our
planet, and have only been observable due to advanced submersibles
which can withstand the tremendous pressure of such incredible depths.

– John Sunier

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