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To the Arctic, a Cast of Polar Bears that Will Warm Your Heart

I am a huge fan of local (Laguna Beach) film company, MacGillivary Freeman Films.  While they produce films that cover a vast number of different topics (from climbing Mt. Everest to underwater sealife to exotic lands) each film obviously originates from the same voice.  For me, the commonality to this film company’s films (the ones that I have seen) is that in addition to always having incredible cinematography, the films capture a part of humankind and it’s relationship with each other and the animal kingdom that evokes compassion.  The message is a sense of universal oneness.  Each film experience is richly satisfying and rewarding while also thought-provoking and in some cases worrying.

Last weekend I was able to take my 12-year-old to a pre-screening of To The Arctic: 3D,  a co-production from Warner Brothers Pictures, MacGillivary Freeman Films and IMAX Corporation, released in tandum with MacGillivary Freeman Film’s new campaign , One World One Ocean, a 20 year  multi-platform project utilizing a variety of media in order to create awareness of the ocean’s importance to the world.  I was excited to sit back and let the giant screen delude me into thinking that I was on the North Pole with the seemingly huggable polar bears.  And the film delivered – it was stunning!  Not “Oh, that was really pretty!”  Stun-NING!!: So intensely vivid one’s mouth automatically drops open as one’s eyes race to each corner of the screen trying to absorb the entire shot before it changes.  Lush waterfalls carried from giant ice formations to water so blue it seems fake.  Aerial shots of herds of animals so vast, it seems as though they must cover the entire planet.  Playful shots of polar bear mothers and cubs that are reminiscent on one’s own family time.  It is the film’s eye candy that is so enjoyable.  Because the message, while enchantingly delivered from the queen of the mamas herself, Meryl Streep, is quite different from the delightful images.

The lush waterfalls are indicative of a polar ice cap that is melting at a higher rate than ever before due to the warming of the earth caused by greenhouse gases made from the human consumption of fossil fuel.  The figure given indicated that if the ice cap continues to melt at its current rate, it will be gone – GONE! – by the middle of THIS century.  Herds of animals are dwindling in size due to the longer summers and shorter winters.  Much of the polar bears’ days are spent trying to find food from a disappearing food source caused by the melting of the ice.  And one of the most disturbing facts of the film, that in addition to seeking food, mother polar bears are also protecting their cubs from being a food source for male polar bears who will eat them when no other food source is available.

So you might wonder is this a message for families with kids?  You betcha!  One of the most well done things about MacGillivary Freeman Films is the delivery of the message. While to the point and never dumbied down, it is tangible for kids, maybe even more so than adults.  Kids want to help!  They want to save the bears – they don’t need convincing.  All they need is some direction in how their day to day lifestyle can effect the environment and they are on it.  And that is exactly how To The Arctic 3D ends with – “Hey, this is what is going on.  This is why something needs to be done and things need to change.  This is what needs to be done.  This is what you can do.  Here is the information.  Let’s do it!”  Producer Shaun MacGillivray, said “One World One Ocean is all about inspiring people to care about and protect ocean environments, and with this educational campaign released in tandem with the film, we hope to highlight the significance of the Arctic as a critical marine environment that deserves our attention and protection.”   Educational materials relating to the film are available online and through the museums and theaters showing the film.

 I can’t think of a better Earth Day message.  As the trailer says, “Nothing is stronger than the power of hope.”


To the Arctic 3D releases today, April 20th, exclusively in IMAX theaters