If you've ever had the urge to swim with the fishes (and not in a mob way), Universal wants to make that dream a reality -- sort of. The studio is bulking up its 3D lineup this week, with a trio of new direct-to-video releases. The longest of the lot is Amazing Ocean 3D.
At a mere 55 minutes, it's not really that long, but it has a few amazing moments. It also has sort of a general overview of a variety of underwater critters, including manatees, dolphins, turtles and Clownfish -- which aren't really as bright as Nemo, by the way.
Amazing Ocean 3D doesn't have Oprah or another famous narrator, but the one here does a fine job, gently guiding you through a few of the adventures of each on-screen creature. Remember, this is just a short trip and there's a lot to cover in the ocean.
If you don't have the time, money or stomach for going on an actual dive, Amazing Ocean 3D is a decent little trip. It's not exactly IMAX-quality, but it does allow you to dip your toe into a stunning underwater world, as well as into the world of 3D.
Strapping on the 3D glasses for Amazing Ocean 3D is a lot like strapping on a diving mask -- and we know how muddled that can be. The fish do swim about right in front of you, like you could reach out and touch them. There are bubbles, fish and even the credits ripple right before your eyes. However, that image is just sort of off. Some colors don't seem as bright as they should and there's a good amount of banding. Also detail is a bit of a mixed bag.
Unfortunately, the audio isn't exactly helping to make this the immersive experience one expects from 3D viewing. Universal has given this release a DTS-HD 2.0 track, so you never really feel like you're surrounded by sealife. It doesn't help that there are virtually no sound effects. Instead, the film drowns out any sounds of the sea with narration and a constant soundtrack.
Universal didn't bother giving this release any extras. There are no deleted scenes, commentary or info about how the film was made. Apparently, they only had the budget for 55 minutes' worth of filming and stuck to it.
Amazing Ocean 3D takes viewers on another interesting little jaunt under the sea. It's unfortunate that it's plagued with so many problems. The 3D and image are fair at best and the audio is boring. It's probably best for late-night viewing, when you don't want to disturb the house (or the neighborhood) with full-blown audio. There are a few nice blips of really cool imagery here. That said, Amazing Ocean 3D really isn't all that amazing, especially given its hefty price tag and non-existent extras.
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