“Into The Deep” makes great 3-D escape

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
August 15, 1997

3 stars

Directed by Howard Hall. Running time: 35 minutes.
No MPAA rating (for general audiences).
Opening today at Cineplex Odeon’s Navy Pier IMAX 3-D Theater.

Filmed in 3-D in a kelp forest off the coast of Southern California, “Into the Deep” is a fascinating journey into the ocean’s exotic realm.  The 35-minute film immerses viewers in the deceptively tranquil action with a breathtaking “you are there” perspective.

The three-dimensional technology is nothing short of amazing. Forget those throwaway 3-D glasses of the past that did nothing but give you a headache. When you strap these high-tech 3-D glasses on (they perch on your head like a visor), you are transported deep into the action. (FYI:  Without the headgear, the film is, in a word, blurry.)

Into the deepShown on a massive 60-by-80-foot screen with a six-channel digital sound system, “Into the Deep” is the world’s first IMAX 3-D underwater movie. The colors are rich and vivid, and lend a majestic presence to the underwater universe 30 to 70 feet below the surface.

The 3-D experience leaves viewers feeling as if they truly are swimming with the fishes.  The office building-size kelp is darkly imposing as it floats out toward the audience. And at a recent screening, some moviegoers flinched to avoid the onslaught of sharks that appeared to be heading straight for their necks. They will sink unless they swim, we are told by actress Kate Nelligan, who narrates the film.

“Into the Deep” made its premiere in November, 1994, in Japan. The film is less instructional than it is a series of intriguing vignettes.  The male garibaldi, for instance, will keep his nest spotless to attract females. After she lays her eggs, his first order of business is to chase her away, for she will eat the eggs if she stays.

And the once-a-year mating ritual between the opalescent squid is so frenetic and in-your-face that the scene could be a mollusk version of “Caligula.” Sadly, all the adults die after the mating and become food for the sea lions and other underwater creatures.

“Into the Deep” is a beautifully produced film that leaves viewers wanting more – not just of the 3-D experience, but of the underwater world that is foreign to so many of us.

August 15, 1997

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