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DVD Review: Arctic Tale

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In the glacial wilderness of the Great North, the circle of life now contends with a devastating peril, one in which unprecedented atmospheric conditions progressively threaten and damage this region’s crucial ecology. Symbolized by the touching story of a polar bear and a walrus, the emergency of climate change comes to light in Arctic Tale, available December 4 on DVD.

On the surface, the film portrays the challenging life journeys of two endearing creatures, a polar bear cub called Nanu and a walrus pup named Seela. Narrated by Queen Latifah, their collective story is presented with compassion, awareness, and a bit of wholesome humor. Spectacular footage of Nanu, Seela, and herds of their cohabitants amid such picturesque surroundings will appeal to children as well as adults.

The film’s central theme, however, should resonate with anyone capable of appreciating the risk, reality, and consequences of global warming. Nanu and Seela’s development occurs during accelerated shifts in seasons, which ultimately influence their natural maturation. For animals accustomed to cyclic weather patterns, they now must adapt to hastened and often-chaotic seasonal changes that disrupt their primal instincts. In an environment dictated by the survival of the fittest, the very welfare of this wildlife is threatened by the intensifying effect of climate change.

Included as a special feature, a short documentary entitled “The Making of Arctic Tale” details the movie’s arduous and gradual realization, allowing its audience to observe some visually stunning raw tape. Directors Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson illustrate and explain their fifteen-year commitment to this project. Ravetch, in particular, offers clips from his video journal throughout filming, which yields a fascinating view of the Arctic’s brutal conditions as well as precious footage of the region’s native animals, including polar bears, walruses, and killer whales.

As enlightening as it is entertaining, Arctic Tale draws attention to a mounting ecological concern as it offers a compelling image of an environment affected by destructive conditions. Indeed, this film does more than tell a story. It imparts a message.

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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.
  • Great review on what I’ve heard is a good film on a timely subject. Nicely done Gibson.