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To the Arctic Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    To the Arctic 3-D is an impassioned plea for action on global warming, and the passion is intensified by the music.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, a specialist in gigantic-screen nature movies including "The Living Sea," is up to date in his use of 70mm IMAX film, but he's stuck in the past about how to tell a story.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Sheri Linden

    Meryl Streep narrates a heartwarming documentary for an up close look at Arctic wildlife.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    Visually stunning and narratively stunted, this IMAX documentary is the family version of 2006's "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary on global warming.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Educational documentary explores life in the frozen wild.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that To the Arctic is an educational 3-D nature documentary about the animals that thrive in the world's harshest climate. Filmed in IMAX, the movie puts a special emphasis on polar bears and the plight they face as global warming continues to extend the arctic summer season. There's nothing objectionable in the documentary, but some very young kids might be disturbed by the tense scenes when a male polar bear pursues a mother and her cubs or when the white cubs get bloody from eating freshly hunted seal meat. The narrator also explains that some cubs and caribou newborns have died because of the elements or starvation. Since the documentary is only 45 minutes long, it's just the right length to educate and entertain kids about life in the arctic's frozen world.

  • Families can talk about the popularity of wildlife documentaries and how they provide insight into the natural world. What are some favorites? Do you prefer ones with a narrator or those with more interviews and experts?
  • Why are wildlife documentaries well suited to the IMAX/3-D format? Do you think you get more out of documentaries in 3-D or other kinds of 3-D movies?
  • How can audiences take the lessons espoused in the documentary and make changes to help stop global warming?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true4

    Educational value: Like most nature documentaries, To the Arctic offers an in-depth view of its animal subjects and how they survive and thrive. Kids will learn that the frigid arctic environment is all that these animals know, and as the summer season gets longer due to global warming, the bears and walruses and caribou of the far north face starvation -- and even extinction.

  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's overall message is to pay attention to climate change and how global warming is affecting the polar bears and other animals that call the arctic their home. Without a human push to curb the effects of global warming, the animals will be wiped out sooner than we can imagine.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Although it's always tricky to ascribe human characteristics to wildlife, the mother polar bear is clearly a selfless mama determined to keep her cubs alive, whether that means swimming longer and farther or standing up to a much bigger, much stronger male polar bear threatening to kill her cubs.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: There are a few scenes of peril and suspense as a predatory male polar bear is in pursuit of a mother polar bear and her two cubs. Also, the narration explains that baby caribou born during the migration usually don't make it to their destination and that a baby polar bear wasn't able to withstand the long distance its mother swam to look for food. A seal is caught and shared between a mother and her cubs, but audiences only see glimpses of the meat and the bloodstained bears.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Caribou give birth along a migration trail. Talk about male polar bears during mating season.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue