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Arctic Tale

From the makers of March of the Penguins.

With the backing of Paramount Classics, National Geographic and Starbucks Coffee -- and a story line that's a cross between "March of the Penguins" and "An Inconvenient Truth" -- "Arctic Tale" is positioned to be the environmental documentary of the year. The film -- a 15-year labor of love by filmmakers Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson -- is a profoundly touching nature film of the first rank. It's the coming-of-age story of two animals of the Canadian north: a polar bear cub and a walrus pup, each born in this icebound world to devoted mothers that will spend the next three years preparing them for a difficult adulthood. Crosscutting between the two protagonists, the film chronicles their stumbling first steps, their development within their animal families and their episodic efforts to find their place in the Arctic world -- covering some eight years in all. As the animals mature and we learn how dependent they are on the ice for their existence, the film reveals how global warming -- which may melt the ice cap by the year 2040 -- wreaks havoc on animal life. Stylistically, the film takes the approach of the Disney true-life adventures of the '50s ("The Vanishing Prairie," etc.) in which we get to know the animals as characters -- they even have names -- so we can identify with their survival plight on a personal level. Like those films, it's constructed of hundreds of hours of film -- using a composite of locations and animal actors. And, of course, there is the voice of a folksy, all-knowing narrator (Queen Latifah, who comes of as the voice of Mother Nature). The often-spectacular footage frames the animal heroes against an awesome array of Arctic vistas. We see intimate family moments as well as narrow escapes from predators. Despite moments of comic relief (such as a lengthy walrus-flatulence scene), the film is ultimately about the horror of extinction. As the ice vanishes, animals die of starvation before our eyes. The film does not preach; rather, it confronts us with the question: Now what are we going to do? -Ty Burr, Boston Globe

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson
Running Time: 
Documentary narrated by Queen Latifah.
Screenplay by: 
Linda Woolverton and Mose Richards

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