In the Northernmost parts of our world, lays the Arctic polar region. A kingdom of ice and snow which spans across three continents and eight countries. While one may think this area inhospitable, it is in fact home to the most diverse ecosystem on planet Earth!
For millennia, the steady freeze and thaw of the Arctic through the seasons has allowed all variety of life to flourish. The importance of this balance being of paramount importance to creatures both great and small, from seals to whales and humans alike, such as the indigenous Inuit population. As climate change tragically wreaks havoc on the Arctic, this equilibrium is quickly becoming lost to rising temperatures.
Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, IMAX exclusive Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet seeks to educate and inspire change. Director Rachel Scott and her team wanted to amaze audiences of all ages, introducing us to this incredible realm while also informing and alerting us all its beauty which is under threat.
I absolutely adore IMAX documentaries and have since I was a child. This documentary starts out calmly enough taking us through many varieties of species which call the Arctic home. It can almost feel like we’re slowly advancing through the ecosystem’s food chain. Audiences observe animals adorable in their cuddliness such as a harp seal pup only one week old and learning how to swim. We also are shown how certain animals work together in order to survive, like a super-pack of wolves stalking American bison.
Under the ice, we see plankton that are fed on by sea birds who have travelled thousands of miles to eat. We also narwhals, ghostly white beluga whales, and the oldest mammals on earth, bowhead whales that can live for up to a whopping 200 years, eating tons of plankton a day and growing to 60 foot long, 100 ton giants!
All of this and more is filmed wonderfully with many uses of aerial drone shots. This gives us an impressive sense of scale as we look down on nature’s wonders. There is also impressive macro photography in Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet. As the summer melt begins, viewers witness an incredible time lapse close-up of a lapland bumblebee queen thawing and coming back to life before our eyes. Just in time to take to the fields and pollinate the flora to continue the circle of life.
Whether it be small events such as this or something on a grander scale, there is a real wow factor to Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet. Seeing sheets of ice, the size of the Empire State Building, crack and fall into the oceans of Greenland is a truly humbling sight. The 3D aspect of the film feels so natural that you almost forget you’re wearing the glasses. Then, you’ll have a humongous walrus blowing nose boogers at you and you’ll feel like you need a raincoat. Definitely something kids will find humorous.
The topic of climate change is of course an important one and Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet takes it on tactically. What makes this film so effective is that we see the impact that climate change having on the indigenous Inuit community, as two generations of fishermen discuss the changes that they have seen in the ice in just the last few decades. The issue is also approached in further detail, which struck me the most about the topic. The film is not afraid to show the damage that humans are doing to the world which will bring about our own destruction as much as (or perhaps even more than) it will the wildlife.
Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet is an incredible IMAX documentary that I would highly recommend to anybody. Unlike other IMAX documentaries, the shorter runtime of 45-minute doesn’t feel like a liability here.
With an impressive amount of information and a wide variety of content on display, all that Arctic 3D: Our Frozen Planet has captured and achieved is as spectacular as it is fascinating. Just what is needed to inspire the conservationists of the future.