To The Arctic 3D is a beautifully shot IMAX documentary regarding the northern polar region and how climate change is affecting the ecosystem there. The film focuses primarily on a mother polar bear raising her two cubs amid the scarcity of food, the threat of other desperately starving polar bears, and the immensity of the region itself. The film also touches on the other wildlife in the region, the eskimos that call the Arctic home, and the scientists studying the ecosystem, but the primary focus is on the polar bear family and their struggle to survive.
The IMAX format is perfect for a nature documentary such as this, conveying the sheer size and scope of the Arctic better than any traditional film format ever could achieve. In addition, the film is one of the best examples of 3D in use today. With the exception of some cheesy "objects flying at you" effects during the main titles, the 3D adds depth and definition to a predominantly white environment, providing a better sense of the depth of the ridges along the arctic shelf, as well as the rockiness of mountains and rough surfaces of what would otherwise appear like smooth islands of ice floating in the ocean.
That said, the film is not without its problems. The narration by Meryl Streep does not provide a whole lot of background on the region, opting instead to comment on the action on-screen, adding a little bit of context to what is happening. She's also somewhat removed from relaying the urgency of how endangered the Arctic region is by the the effects of global warming. The music is over-the-top, inappropriately bombastic and out of tune with the starkness of the environment and the everyday behavior of the polar bear family. Had the music been more subdued, the urgency of the situation as well as the sad nature of watching an ecosystem slowly falling apart could have been more easily conveyed.
Songs by Paul McCartney have been added to the film as well, but they seem out of place as well. Classic Beatles and Wings songs are used at moments throughout the film, but the familiarity of these songs makes it difficult to juxtapose any new meaning when paired with the visuals on-screen. The less familiar songs attempt to add a human element to the wild polar bears, attempting to anthropomorphize emotions animals don't have. Like the musical score, the songs are more distracting than enhancing the film.
Despite these criticisms, the overall spectacle of the imagery, augmented by an effective use of 3D, makes this film worth seeing. If you're at a museum, and what to experience nature in a larger-than-life window, you can't go wrong seeing the Arctic in 3D.