Frozen Treat: Artic Tale
The fluffy bear cub struggles in the snow to keep up with his mother and sister bear, named Nanu, on the prowl for food. The two bears in the lead turn back to comfort and urge him on but he is lost. This is just one of the life and death moments in Arctic Tale, a live-action movie set in the remote Canadian Arctic. The film comes from National Geographic Films, producers of March of the Penguins and Paramount Classics, the studio that distributed An Inconvenient Truth.
It depicts the lives of a polar bear, Nanu, and a walrus named Seela, two natives of the icy north, and their struggles to survive in a changing environment. Is this the film for your scientific research? On the intricate realities of climate change? No. But for those seeking an entertaining way to enlighten youngsters about the potential dangers of global warming, it is definitely fine.
Over 15 years, Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson, National Geographic’s Natural History Unit and others, compiled an astonishing 800 hours of film footage. From the start, their goal was to make a movie closer to mythic tale adventure—yet a tale woven out of real events caught on film in the wild.
Nanu and Seela’s stories are linked in narration by Queen Latifah and include fantastic images like a polar bear standing on her hind legs and then crashing her claws through the ice to show her cub how to hunt and a newborn walrus cradled in its mother’s flippers. There also are rarely seen events like an underwater fight between a polar bear and walrus, a flight of thick-billed murres, a gathering of narwhals, (single tusk whales), and a little white fox tagging along.
The narration is a little cute, but doesn’t joke about the realties of life and conveys the amazing ways massive bears and walruses survive and care for their families under truly tough circumstances. One moving scene shows a bear casting off her growing cub because she can no longer fend for both of them.
The film’s narration includes some choice facts: For instance, polar bears can smell through three feet below snow and ice to catch prey, and a young walrus memorizes its mother’s face by brushing whisker to whisker.
A real accomplishment of the film is how the principal creatures are perfectly made composites of several animals over periods of time. Drama is heightened by the undeniable changes in weather patterns depicted over time and how it puts many interdependent creatures at risk. It’s a cool movie on a hot summer day.#