Review by Jack Foley
YOU’D have to be extremely cold-hearted not to warm to Arctic Tale in some way, a timely environmental documentary that offers easy appeal to fans of March Of The Penguins.
The film follows the fortunes of a polar bear mother and her cub, Nanu, and a walrus and her calf, Seela (both composites of several different animals) as each attempts to fend off the threat posed by natural predators and global warming.
And needless to say, it boasts some stunning cinematography – from husband-and-wife filmmaking team Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson – that offers viewers some breathtaking insights into life in the wild for both of the creatures on show (such as the cubs playing with their mother or hunting seals or the walrus family attempting to keep safe amid an ocean storm).
But it does have a tendency to talk down to viewers, treating them all as kids, and is saddled with an awful soundtrack that’s cheesy at best (check out Sister Sledge’s We Are Family during a walrus snoozing session).
Queen Latifah’s narration, in particular, tends to grate, emerging as the type of A-B-C approach that might play well to a Sesame Street audience but lessens the impact here. For while the filmmakers are undoubtedly attempting to appeal to the next generation to help safeguard the Arctic environment, there’s still plenty that adults can do as well.
Hence, a closing caption warning that there will be no ice at all during the Arctic summer by 2040 if we continue to neglect our environment leaves a much more lasting impression and may even shame older viewers into taking some action on their own.
Arctic Tale‘s greatest achievement, however, is in putting together such a wonderful collection of beautiful images that capture some truly majestic beasts in all their powerful glory.
Running time: 86mins
UK DVD Release: September 8, 2008