Global Warming is a real threat. The majority of scientists across the globe agree on this (there is a small dissenting group but nothing compared to those that believe in the theory). And wildlife filmmakers Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson believed there were ways to prove it. So they embarked on a fifteen year odyssey to film the lives of two creatures: Nanu the polar bear and Seela the Walrus.
The arctic is where these two live, and the arctic is the battleground most climatologists point to whenever they are asked for proof of global warming theory. It is important to let our children know that this area is in dangeras are its animalsthanks to the changes in global climate. And children are who this G-rated film is directed at.
There's the cuddly polar bear scene when Nanu is born with her "brother", and the protective nature of walruses as they fret over their young. And there's the bathroom humor of the walruses as they eat clams and then expel flatulence in roaring surround sound.
But there's also some things that might frighten the very young. Nanu and her ilk are meat eaters; in fact, they love walrus and seal meat. Some bloody carcasses are seen on several occasions, so parents who haven't discussed life-cycles with their young ones should beware. The fact that the movie-makers didn't give Nanu's "brother" and Seela's "auntie" a name should also give you pause (crewman 19!).
To help aid in the marketing of this film, you'll often hear "From the people that brought you MARCH OF THE PENGUINS..." but don't be fooled. Neither director nor the writers involved here were affiliated with March of the Penguins. Both films were aided with production dollars by National Geographic Films but that's about it.
Although March of the Penguins held more astonishing film footage, this film can boast some exquisite shots of its own. Following polar bears around as they swim in the open ocean and watching walruses suckle their newborns was something I found phenomenally well filmed. The vanishing ice flows are also pointedly shown as months into what should have been the arctic winter turns into open seas instead of frozen waters.
Queen Latifah (HAIRSPRAY) does a great job narrating. Never over-the-top, her tone was perfect for the settings. Always.
But I think Morgan Freeman did a bit better job during March of the Penguins. All-in-all, it's a superior documentary that stands head and shoulders above this one. But that shouldn't shame Arctic Tale at all. It's a decent documentary.
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