ROUNDUP REVIEW: UNDER THE SEA 3D

(3 stars)

Jim Carrey narrates "Under the Sea 3D," a new installment in the underwater 3-D filmmaking that IMAX pretty much owns these days. Nothing compares to the images in these films, and director Howard Hall, whose previous offerings include the IMAX hits "Deep Sea 3D" and "Into the Deep 3D," knows his way around the underwater camera - all 1,300 pounds of it - and personally tallied 358 hours of the dive team's 2,073 hours under the sea (accomplished in 1,668 total dives, many using closed-circuit re-breathing apparatus that allows much longer dives than regular scuba gear).

The images are impressive, and include shots of some cuttlefish "hey-hey" cleverly set to the song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" (the theme song for the Britcom "Coupling"), a stingray with an entourage of fish waiting for its 6-foot wings to stir up some wee snacks from the seabed, dwarf minke whales, a chambered nautilus (one of the few remaining nautiloid species, which once numbered more than 2,000 and dominated the pre-dinosaur seas), several great white sharks, sea snakes (ewww), a field of garden eels that look like wheat stalks blowing in the wind, plus a few startling ambush feedings by smaller, camouflaged reef denizens.

In addition to the romantic music for the cuttlefish courtship, the several musical selections are a step above the usual IMAX fare.

Regions photographed include the Indonesian waters of the Coral Triangle, coastal mangrove forests, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and south coast. Along with these comes the ever-present "oceans are endangered" message, which seemed to intrude upon the brief 40-minute running time.

People should be informed about what's happening in the environment, but there's informing and there's hammering. This comes close to hammering in that it identifies a problem but offers no solution. After all, who is the likely audience for a nature movie, chemical dumpers and strip miners? Most viewers probably already have environmentally friendly leanings. What do they want, someone to start making "Soylent Green"?

- Michael Esposito

MPAA rating: G. Running time: 0:40. Opening Friday at Navy Pier's IMAX. Tickets are $11, $9 for children.


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