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ANTARCTICA ($25) is another title in the continuing series of Imax films, which is now being released on DVD by the folks at Lumivision. Lumivision originally released ANTARCTICA on Laserdisc several years ago. The continent of ANTARCTICA is certainly one of the most beautiful places on the planet, despite being one of the most inhospitable. The Imax camera brings to life this remote area of the Earth and shows us the diversity of life that actually exists where one would expect no life to be. And, of course, the penguins who call Antarctica home, interject the film with humor due to their awkward on-land exploits, then amaze viewers with the grace and beauty of their underwater ballet.

The Imax cinematography of ANTARCTICA is amongst the most breathtaking you are ever likely to see in any film. The blueness of sky and ocean contrasting with the starkness of the white ice and snow is truly awe-inspiring. ANTARCTICA also brings a message of the fragile balance of the Earth's ecology to the screen. The film also focuses on the hole in the world’s ozone layer, and the disastrous implications should a meltdown of the Antarctic ice ever occur. ANTARCTICA even shows us a section of the ice continent left barren by an ancient disaster.

ANTARCTICA is one of Lumivision’s first DVD titles and it is somewhat problematic. Digital artifacts are quite apparent on this disc in a number of places. The artifacts take the form of colored bands in the image. Obviously, this is an anomaly of early DVD production, since later Lumivision titles do not display this problem. The transfer of ANTARCTICA appears identical to that of the Laserdisc, but due to the artifact problem the Laserdisc has the definite advantage. The image remains relatively sharp on the DVD and the colors appear faithful to the filmmaker’s intentions.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack has a 5.1 mix, but the mix doesn’t appear implemented very well. Then again, the soundtrack on the Laserdisc wasn’t the best example of a matrixed Dolby surround mix.

I was very much taken with ANTARCTICA the film, and I recommend it to collectors. Due to the artifacting problem, my recommendation will have to go to the Laserdisc over the DVD.



DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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