Arctic Tale (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/02/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

A blatant attempt to cash in on the success of March of the Penguins, this wildlife documentary is stunningly photographed, but the attempts at anthropomorphism are frequently irritating.

What's it all about?
Filmed over six years, by husband and wife team Ravetch and Robertson, Arctic Tale follows the story of two young animals: polar bear cub Nanu and baby walrus Seela. While Nanu and her younger brother are taught the essentials of hunting, fishing and surviving by their mother, Seela is taken under the protective flippers of her mother and an extremely vigilant auntie.

However, global warming has caused severe changes to the Arctic environment, meaning that both Nanu and Seela will face huge challenges if they're going to survive.

The Good
The film is beautifully photographed and includes some underwater footage that is nothing short of astonishing. The environmental message is pretty heavy-handed in places (especially when a bunch of schoolkids lecture us about recycling during the end credits), but that's not so surprising, given the film's co-writer, Kristin Gore (daughter of Al).

The Bad
However, the film has been over-produced to within an inch of its life, from the blatantly manipulative editing (you never see the two animals in the same shot during chase sequences), to the nauseating attempts to make the animals seem more human (baby polar bears going Woah when they fall down ice holes; an extended sequence of farting walruses), to Queen Latifah's annoyingly sassy narration, for example commenting, That's just how they roll about a herd of walruses.

Arctic Tale also adds several montage sequences set to upbeat pop tunes (walruses cavorting to We Are Family), which are meant to be cute but are just plain irritating. In addition, the film has the same flaws as March of the Penguins, in that it sanitises the nastier elements of the film for fear of scaring younger children.

Worth seeing?
The stunning footage just about compensates for the cutesy narration and the manipulative editing but you might be better off waiting for the DVD so you can turn the sound down.

Film Trailer

Arctic Tale (U)
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Content updated: 01/08/2014 10:48

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