The majestic kings of the sea.
Humpback whales are one of the great mysteries of the deep. The mammoth animals – some of the biggest on earth – roam the oceans looking looking for food and sharing the song of their people (err, fellow whales…), as evidenced by the enormous success of Roger Payne’s best selling 1970 album “Songs of the Humpback Whale,” which featured long renditions of recorded music made by the whales (they were like The Beatles, without the help of Ed Sullivan).
2016’s Humpback Whales is a beautifully rendered documentary about the creatures – including the creation of “Songs of the Humpback Whale” — and explores all aspects of the beasts, from their lives to their interactions with humans to the terrible ways they’ve been systematically hunted and murdered them over the years. In fact, there is some rather gruesome footage in Humpback Whales that may make some viewers slightly uneasy when it arrives on screen.
The film’s narration comes from actor Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) and can be, at times, rather monotonous. Watching these creatures combined with McGregor’s deceptively low key narration often made me feel like I could drift off to sleep. Even so, there’s so much awesome footage in this film that the viewer will be hard pressed to want to doze off. Scenes of the whales in their natural habitat is so impressive that you’ll wish you had a bigger TV while watching it, even if you own an 80″ plasma flat screen television.
Humpback Whales (Blu-ray) is presented 4K UHD (2160p), as well as 3D and regular 2D (both in 1080p high definition), with all presentations in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Not surprisingly, all three transfers for this documentary are in excellent shape. The 3D and 2D versions are exceptional with bright, lavish colors and bold black levels, and the 4K presentation is nothing short of spectacular. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Atmos in English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in French and Spanish, and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English, French, and Spanish. Much like the video transfers, these audio mixes are all in fantastic shape with a bevy of surround sounds and directional effects swirling around the viewer. Also included on this disc are English subtitles.
Extra features include a short “making of” featurette, along with some trailers for other IMAX films.
As a documentary, Humpback Whales will fill the viewer with awe as they witness some of God’s most magnificent creatures traversing the waterways, up close and truly personal. The film is packed with a lot of solid information on the whales (even at a fairly brief 40 minutes), and while it’s certainly not action packed by any means, it will thrill both young and old alike.