Universal has released a trio of ocean documentary Blu-rays in 3D. Although all are in the same vein, Fascination Coral Reef 3D and Fascination Coral Reef 3D: Mysterious Worlds Underwater form a two-part series on separate discs, while Amazing Ocean 3D is from a separate production company. Titles contain the feature in both 3D and 2D versions.
These are short underwater excursions that aspire to the BBC Earth and IMAX template of nature documentaries. Narrator voice-overs guide you through a swim in the ocean, commenting along the way on various species of animal life. All three titles have a similar feel, and each runs in the general 50-minute range.
Fascination Coral Reef 3D and Fascination Coral Reef 3D: Mysterious Worlds Underwater are two halves of the same coin, and feature longer tracking shots of more select animal groups. Narration is an issue because it feels random, often just giving a sentence or two on the species featured onscreen, and then remaining silent until something else floats by. Which is fine, as the narration is rather generic and dry. The editing feels rough draft, and there's not much flow to speak of with each title. However, there is an option to turn off the narration so you can simply watch the images, which is probably going to be the main draw here anyway.
Amazing Ocean 3D actually ups the ante a bit regarding quality of cinematography, better-paced editing and overall structure to the film. But then it's two steps back as soon as the music and the narrator's inane commentary fully reveal themselves. Unless you have young children who are really into 3D, I can't imagine the narration finding much of an audience. And that's the main frustration with all of these titles is this unfinished and badly rushed aspect to several not-unimportant components, especially in regards to the nature documentary genre.
Video / 3D
Video for all three titles is mostly fine, although on the soft side, with some of the detail getting lost either by clarity or sometimes murky filming conditions. Although perhaps more realistic, there is no color correction apparent on the Fascination Coral Reef titles, where many of the shots reveal dingy underwater colors bathed in the harsh torches of their light rigs. A light amount of ringing is evident, especially when shots include brighter, filtered sunlight from above. But still, given their no-doubt low budget, the quality is not too bad. Amazing Ocean 3D fares a bit better in the overall quality department, although even it doesn't have completely sharp detail.