BMZ Review: The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
By Ann Coates
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: February 19, 2010
Wave science, surfing and Tahitian beauty come together in The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, the latest film from veteran Giant Screen filmmaker Stephen Low. Starring nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfing legend Raimana Van Bastolaer, the film is an incredible 3D experience full of exciting surf sequences and beautiful Tahitian images. Filmed in Teahupo'o, the film follows Slater as he meets up with his old friend and fellow surfer Raimana and their search for the perfect wave.
3D discussions these days will undoubtedly have comparisons to James Cameron's epic, Avatar. But where Avatar's 3D is more atmospheric and muted, the 3D in TUWT is some of the best in getting up close and popping off the screen. The best 3D images are of course those in the water where the ocean is literally right below the audience's noses, or watching Slater surf and fly off the screen. Excellent cinematography and the unbelievably beautiful Tahitian locale add to the overall immersion of the film.
The film does a sufficient job educating on wave formation and wave science without being too dry in its technical aspects. But it is in the water where the film comes to life. Awaiting the waves, Kelly, Raimana and several friends enjoy their time in Tahiti rowing banana boats and taking in the local culture. The audience gets spectacular images of this distant island with its crystal blue water and pristine beaches. A romp into Tahitian culture with a traditional fire dance also livens the film in its stirring frenzy.
When the waves do come, they are at first small, but offer a delightful look into a laid back afternoon in the water. Director Stephen Low does an excellent job capturing the fun of surfing, a tempting glimpse for non-surfers to pick up their first board and head to the ocean. The film spends a bit of time underwater with images of schools of fish, sharks and sting rays. Although beautiful, this underwater sequence is a bit of lull in an otherwise energetic film.
As the big Teahupo'o waves arrive, the audience is thrust into the ocean along with the surfers. It is incredible how Slater manages to surf these dangerous waves with such ease. Even for those who know nothing of surfing, Slater's almost uncanny talent is quite evident in these big wave surf sequences. When a big wave topples over Slater, it appears that he must have wiped out, but in a few seconds Slater appears out of the wave on his board, casual and not the least bit fazed. Although these surf images are breathtaking, the film however doesn't really offer a deep understanding of the surf culture it portrays. Rather than a film about surfing, it is a film that has surfing -- but what outstanding surfing shots nonetheless!
The film has good and succinct educational value with its exploration of not just wave science, but also a look into the formation of the Tahitian islands. An apropos soundtrack rounds out the film with surf-themed guitar and island beats. An enjoyable and lively film, The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D offers viewers a rare and entertaining glimpse into Tahiti and surfing, and is probably the most fun one can have next to being at the beach itself.
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