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on June 27, 2004
This DVD has beautiful underwater scenes of coral reefs and sea life, and occasional flyovers of mountains and reefs look amazing. The music and narration are finely balanced. If you live outside the US or Canada like me, you can still play the WMVHD DVD! As long as you own a region free DVD-ROM drive in your computer, or own a copy of DVD Region Free, you can still play the high definition version on disc 2 in any country with no DRM license hassles. You got to have a powerful pc (especially the CPU) to play it though! You should also have a HDTV connected to your pc as well to make the most of the quality.
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on January 15, 2004
They should have called this " Chicken-little's global warming and rainforest diatribe, with a little underwater photography"
Twice the statement is made that ALL coral reefs will be dead within 30 years. No science is explained that would support that statement. Sorry, No Sale. If you are going to make hyperbolic statements like that in a film, you beter be willing to devote some time to explaining the facts behind the statement.
In the end, I was very dissapointed. You expect dazzling visuals in an IMAX film. This was very lacking in visual content and very overboard in political content.
Wish I would have rented it instead...
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on May 18, 2004
I bought this for the HD WMV version on disc 2, hoping to play this with my HD capable Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC). I have had nothing but problems:
1. There were problems with software codecs. The web site pointed to on the disc explained how I might need to manually install some components, which apparently I needed to do. Troubling, but overcome.
2. DVD-ROM required on the computer. My HTPC didn't have a DVD-ROM drive. I have a separate DVD player in my stereo stack, and DVD drives in other computers. My plan was to copy the files over to the HTPC. This didn't work because of the Microsoft DRM (Digital Rights Management). Even when I mapped the DVD-ROM on the other computer so it appeared locally, no luck. Worst of all, I only figured out this was the problem by debugging the Microsoft scripts on the disc. There was no explanation given, just a cryptic error message. Overcome with purchase of a DVD-ROM drive.
3. Bad audio format. As another reviewer has noted, the multi-channel audio is in a Microsoft format and I can't pass it over the optical connection from my HTPC to my DTS and Dolby Digital capable receiver. I have no problems with AC3 files and DTS encoded files. Not overcome - stuck with standard stereo.
4. Things cut off the screen. I'm running at 1920x1080 for 1080i resolution. My HDTV has a little overscan. The menus for configuring the player were cut off. I don't know if this is because it assumes 4x3 or the overscan, but someone needs to recognize that overscan exists. Overcome by playing disc in another computer and learning where the menu entries were.
5. Can't pause, etc. The player doesn't seem to respond to keys on my "media enabled" keyboard. The keyboard works fine in other applications. Not overcome.
BTW, the video looks awesome.
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on January 6, 2004
Disc 1 contains both Widescreen (16x9) and Full Frame (4x3). It walks you through the selection for full-frame or widescreen, then the selection for DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1. It was very simple, no looking around for the audio and video selection, like some DVD's. In DTS, the sound is incredible. In Dolby Digital 5.1, the sound is only slightly less so.
The film is fabulous overall. "Coral Reef Adventure" won the Giant Screen Theatre Association's Best Film of 2003. I can see why. It was filmed on location in Australia, Fiji, Rangiroa, Tahiti, and the United States. The music is by Crosby, Stills, Nash. The movie opens with "Teach Your Children Well". I loved it. There is also some music that sounds like native singing, acoustic instruments, and percussion. The video is spectacular. The colors are crisp and clear. Without a doubt, this movie has some of the best audio and video that I have heard and seen on a nature film. The display on a 65 inch rear projection TV is spellbinding. There is one short scene of hang-gliding in the mountains that is breath-taking.
Disc 2 is for the computer only. (The minimum requirements for the computer are Windows XP; Windows Media Player 9 Series (included on the disc) or Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.4 GHz processor; 384 MB of RAM; 64 MB video card, DVD-rom drive; 1024x768 screen resolution; 16 bit sound card; and speakers.) When I inserted the DVD into the computer, it smoothly installed the required Windows Media Series 9 (and did not require a reboot!) It played the high definition picture beautifully. The movie is widescreen and plays in Dolby Digital 5.1 mode. The computer has only two very cheap-looking speakers, and the sound was surprisingly good.
The underwater scenes of the coral reefs and marine life are beautiful, the sound is awesome, the "Making of" Feature is one that I enjoy on all the Imax movies. There are some sad moments as the movie discusses the destruction of the coral reefs. Recommended.
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on January 9, 2004
If you own a high end HTPC (home theater personal computer), and a HD capable display, you owe it to yourself to buy this movie. Simply put, the Microsoft WMV transfer in high definition (both 720p and 1080p) is the best image I have ever seen on our home theater's very expensive projection system($30k JVC Lcos system).
There are some downsides....
1) Requires a very beefy computer. 3.0 Ghz is recommended by Microsoft, although some are getting away with lower powered machines by using the lower-quality 720p verion
2) Proprietary audio codec requires you to have the computer decode the audio, and send it to your amplifier via analog cables. There is no DTS or DD track on the HD version.
3) DRM - You have a choice of one video player, Windows Media 9. The movie has digial rights management on it, which can only be viewed by a Microsoft player. While this implementation is much better than the T2 high definition release (which required you to have an internet connection to get authorization), it's still a bit limiting.
Despite the problems, This is right up there with the best film based HDTV content I have viewed from HDnet or HD HBO.
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on April 13, 2004
I bought this disk because it was the first-ever high definition 1080progressive scan DVD made to run on a pc that has windows media 9 and a fancy graphics card.
This is a drop-dead gorgeous movie to watch. And unlike the other existant HD-DVD, it is easy to use.
I look foward to purchasing other nature films released in this format. My only regret about this beautiful, intelligent movie is that it is an advocacy film for environmental preservation of coral reefs but it does not give its intended audience a clear push out-of-the-door to act in a meaningful way to save the oceans through legislation etc. Maybe I am being policy-wonkish here, but feel-good propaganda that does not motivate people is dishonest to its intents.
Liam Nieson narrates excellently, the underwater cinematography is pristine and the audience develops an appreciation of the coral reef milleau. music is goofy but fun.
see this movie on a 1200x1600 monitor if you can, there is nothing like it!
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on July 19, 2004
I bought this DVD only for the eye candy WMVHD version...and I wasn't disappointed. The video quality is simply spectacular !
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on December 28, 2009
I'd forgotten I'd watched this a while back and enjoyed the commentary and the camera shots. It was mostly about saving the coral reef, not enjoying it. I just got a Blu-Ray set up at home and want to put on a screen saver...this is not what I wanted....even tho it is done well. Good gift for my young college son.
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on January 26, 2004
Unlike the last reviewer, I found the information presented in this IMAX powerful. What more proof does one need, that the oceans are DYING? It is also a feast for the eyes as well. The filming/ photography is magnificient. The ocean is the next wild frontier, and we need to learn more about it and appreciate it, before it is completely ruined. The film focused on a couple whose love of marine life takes them on a journey from Fiji to the Coral Reefs of Australia. It was informative, interesting, and overall a very beautiful. I would suggest seeing at the IMAX theatre, if possible.
Also, the soundtrack makes this film move right along with songs from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The songs fit the footage perfectly ( which you may be surprised about !)
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on December 30, 2009
This looks and feels like a made-for-TV special for National Geo - I know it was shot in high def... It just doesn't look it. That being said, the content is best described as insipid and is narrated in a pretty patronizing way to the viewer.
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