Dolphins and Whales 3D
September 14, 2010
Commercial cinema 3D may well be taking the world by storm following the success of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), the recent spate of Pixar/Dreamworks animations and the occasional horror flick indulging in splatter-D, but before it became standard to have your own set of 3D glasses there was something called the IMAX. It really has to be said that IMAX 3D is still superior to the strange, conversely subtle and gimmicky modes of 3D that contemporary audiences have come to expect. And moreover, it’s worth saying that the immersive qualities of IMAX 3D, as they correlate to the content of their predominantly educational documentary short features, are absolutely preferable to the aforementioned popcorn fodder in every possible way. Melbournians are lucky enough to have the world’s third largest screen at their disposal and with the latest release of Dolphins and Whales 3D there’s really no excuse not to get yourself to Carlton to go see it.
Dolphins and Whales 3D does three things: 1) it educates audiences on a variety of species of the aforementioned dolphins and whales by giving an extreme, close “view” to their lives undersea; 2) it offers experiential cinematic engagement founded upon haptic, immersive theoretical discourse and 3) it reveals its moral project (cautioning against the farming and polluting of sea life) through a thematic thread that is enhanced and reiterated by its technology’s unique ability to inherently reference an historical real.
Ocean life is threatened by the continued human slaughter of dolphins and whales and by human pollution of the earth which in turn severely damages and endangers their habitat and food resources. Told, by Daryl Hannah no less (she of Splash (1984) fame) that many of these remarkable creatures “may soon become a ghostly shadow of the arctic, a mere memory”, the film highlights both the real threat that we pose to their existence whilst indexing their historical and anthropological significance. Furthermore, the documentary also suggests in its concluding remarks that “we can change our way of life” which resonates so much more as it is being communicated through a pioneering technology that quite literally changes the way in which we see these (often hidden from plain view) mammals.
With the assistance of a heavily emotive score the images figuratively (and sometimes literally) wash over its audience like to a wave of consciousness, imploring those in the auditorium to take an active role in “viewing” so that it develops into “perceiving” and ultimately therefore an experience in educational comprehension. Upon leaving the theatre audiences will find themselves amidst a museum environment which is hardly incidental; the experience as it occurred in the auditorium fully intended to be built upon back in the “real” (temporally at least) world. In just 45 minutes the experience of IMAX 3D could truly alter your perception, a far greater feat than Cameron’s 162 minutes of “blue people” (IMHO!)
Written by Tara Judah for Liminal Vision.