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Capone goes to outer space and under the sea with two visually stunning docs--Disney's OCEANS and HUBBLE 3-D!!!

Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here, with two documentaries opening this week that just seem to go together. One dealing with outer space and the other dealing with the equally mysterious realm under the earth’s seas. Enjoy…
OCEANS I am a sucker for nature films projected on the big screen. I don't watch that many films about animals or wild weather stories or any other nature-themed shows on TV, but I won't miss a 45-minute IMAX movie about strange creatures that live underwater or in the mountains or wherever. And while last year's Earth from the newly formed Disneynature was basically a retread of a much longer TV miniseries of the same name, Oceans (which is not in IMAX but is a little under 90 minutes long) appears to be brand-spanking-new footage of the fish, mammals, plants, crustaceans, and other phenomenon that live and occur in all of the planet's oceans. The film doesn't shy away from violence and death--there's an image of a great while catching a seal in mid-air that I will never get out of my head--but it's real intention is capturing the natural beauty and awe-inspiring creatures that dwell in this landscape, much of which you probably have never seen before, at least not in this amount of detail. Pierce Brosnan (the man refuses to go away for a while) provides an almost laughable narration that makes him sound stoned out of his mind, but even this bit of silliness can’t take away from the power of the visuals. There are the occasional pleas about global warming and overfishing--and rightfully so--but even that is kept to a minimum. The footage that directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud is dramatically lit, framed, and edited. A sequence involving what appear to be tens of thousands of warring spider crabs would stack up against any CGI-created creatures in Clash of the Titans or Lord of the Rings. I particularly liked when they showed divers swimming side by side with some of the larger creatures, including humpback whales, so that we get a real sense of scale and wonder. It's easy to understand after even this limited exposure to undersea life why so many filmmakers, like James Cameron, become obsessed with filming in the oceans. Each trip down opens up new opportunities to literally see something that most human beings have and will never see. Oceans offers a rare chance to be blown away, not by 3-D alien beings from another world, but from life that exists on this very planet. You owe yourself a trip to see this film; just ask the theater manager if they can turn off the sound.
HUBBLE 3-D Having been in limited release for a few weeks on institutional IMAX screens around the country (like the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., which is where I saw it), this exceptional look at the places in the universe that have been revealed to us thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope is now opening in commercial 3-D IMAX locations this week. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, the film is actually interesting on two levels. First, the Hubble images are undeniably compelling--views of other galaxies and looks at black holes are unimaginable, and they can't help but make you feel just a little smaller in the grand scheme of things. But the film also functions as a history lesson as we see footage of the original Hubble being launched into space and of the subsequent space missions that took place to fix and adjust the lens and other technical snafus. The film focuses primarily on what was the last space journey to fix Hubble before it was left to drift away forever, so we are treated to a 3-D IMAX shuttle launch, which I believe knocked out three of my fillings with its awesome volume, and an IMAX look (shot by the Shuttle crew) of the repair mission, complete with dangers, mechanical issues, and a bit of improvisation. There isn't much more to say about the 45-minute film other than it's cool beyond words. Watching astronauts on a space walk with the earth literally filling their field of vision is without-a-doubt worth the elevated price of admission. You are either so enamored with space, even as an adult, that you are just going to see Hubble based on the title alone, or you aren't. But this is one bad-ass movie that you need to check out, even if you are one of those who aren't convinced either IMAX or 3-D is all that impressive. It is, especially when dealing with the vastness of space.
-- Capone Follow Me On Twitter

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