Arctic Tale (2007)

G  |   |  Documentary, Family  |  17 August 2007 (USA)
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Two narratives -- the life cycle of a mother walrus and her calf, and the life of a polar bear and her cubs -- are used to illustrate the harsh realities of existence in the Arctic.


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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kid in End Credits
Zain Ali ...
Kid in End Credits
Kid in End Credits
Kid in End Credits
Michael Huang ...
Kid in End Credits
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Dante Pastula ...
Kid in End Credits
Peyton Pearson ...
Kid in End Credits
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Kid in End Credits
Kid in End Credits
Ke'ala Valencia ...
Kid in End Credits


Two narratives -- the life cycle of a mother walrus and her calf, and the life of a polar bear and her cubs -- are used to illustrate the harsh realities of existence in the Arctic.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A real adventure in the coolest place on earth See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 August 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Call of the North  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$22,607 (USA) (27 July 2007)


$833,308 (USA) (19 October 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Spin-off Arctic Tale (2007) See more »


The Whale Song
Written and Performed by Pearl Jam
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User Reviews

stunning visuals overcome schmaltzy presentation
3 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Arctic Tale" is a National Geographic nature documentary blown up to widescreen proportions. Exquisitely photographed by Adam Ravetch (who, along with Sarah Roberston, also served as co-director of the film), the movie follows the exploits of an adorable polar bear cub named Nanu and an equally irresistible baby walrus named Celia as they learn to cope and survive (with more than a little help from their mommies) in the harsh conditions of the Great White North.

Weaknesses first. "Arctic Tale" suffers from a failing common to many nature documentaries aimed at a general audience - namely the tendency to sanitize and whitewash some of the harsher realities of life in the wild to avoid offending the sensibilities of an often squeamish audience. We don't mind oohing and ahhing over a cuddly little bear, all bleary-eyed and squinty, finally emerging from the dark den of her childhood to the bright light of day - but being compelled to watch her tear some other poor defenseless creature to pieces in order to perpetuate her own survival would be something else again. Similarly, it's one thing to anthropomorphize an animal; it's quite another to do so on the level of a Disney cartoon (the animals here do just about everything but talk). Thus, not only do we get cutesy, folksy narration (voiced by Queen Latifah) that sounds as if it were written for an audience of restless first-graders (which it may very well have been) but a sappy theme song that sets a schmaltzy tone from the outset. The movie also goes in for such corny effects as playing "We Are Family" on the soundtrack as we're introduced to a tight knit community of sunbathing walruses - or treating us to a full-out flatulence contest among the members of that same group. For some reason, the movie seems to feel that we just wouldn't be all that interested in the lives of these creatures if we weren't somehow convinced that, underneath it all, they're JUST LIKE US.

Not that we aren't treated to the darker, kill-or-be-killed, survival-of-the-fittest side of nature as well, though rest assured the "kills" are kept at a discreet enough distance to avoid traumatizing the little ones - or even the more weak-stomached and fainthearted members of the adult audience, for that matter.

On the positive side, the movie makes a poignant case for the tremendous threat global warming poses to these wonderful creatures and offers proof positive as to just how quickly the rapidly-changing climate is shattering the fragile ecosystem that serves as their home. Ravetch manages to get his camera into amazing places, so much so that we often wonder just how genuine some of the "story" we are witnessing actually is (the movie was culled from over 800 hours of footage gathered over a period of fifteen years, not the mere twelve-month-long period the plot line would suggest).

Yet, if you can get past the pedestrian commentary, you'll find in "Arctic Tale" a visually stunning, frequently thrilling and occasionally heartbreaking story of struggle and survival, one filled with enough urgency and passion to get us up and over most of the teeth-gritting stuff.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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