THE ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI plunges audiences into the stunning beauty of an island paradise on a quest to find the perfect wave-riding experience. Nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer and a group of friends seek out the best waves breaking on the reef at Tahiti's famed surf site Teahupo'o. As their quest unfolds, the audience is plunged beneath the surface of things, to explore the hidden forces at work shaping ocean waves and the islands that lie in their path. Amidst playful surfing action, we navigate the cosmos and an ocean storm in a search for the source and nature of a wave's energy. Exploring mountainous Tahiti, we are thrust into the turbulent volcanic past of the island and its neighbors and discover the seagoing, wave-riding roots of the islanders themselves -- a culture still rich in the music, dance and lore of the sea. Beneath the ocean, swimming with our surfers, we explore the stunning, fragile beauty of the reef habitat -- a turbulent, wave-shaping interface that envelops the island and nurtures the ocean's multitudes in motion -- fish, dolphins, sharks and whales. When the truly big surf arrives at Teahupo'o, surfing play becomes surfing survival as the riders artfully tackle some of the heaviest surf on the planet -- spectacularly captured for the giant screen for the first time. Bonus features include board design, trailers and more.
They say Tahiti is the last great unspoiled place on Earth, and 'The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti' does a great job illustrating that point. At face value, this film would appear to be a documentary about the world's greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, but below the surface, it's far greater than that. Kelly Slater is on a quest to surf the most infamous wave in Tahitian culture, known as "the demonic wave." This wave is caused by a combination of elements, including tide, air temperature, moon position, and distant storm formations. While we wait for this intense wave, we are treated to some stunning sequences showcasing the Tahitian culture, the natural beauty of the island, daily life there, and finally a little bit of science explaining how Tahiti was formed. The natural beauty displayed is simply stunning. The Tahitian travel agency should probably send a thank you card to Image Entertainment for the way they displayed their beautiful country, because after watching this, I feel like I need a vacation there. As beautiful as this film is, it's equally educational. Sometimes in documentaries, facts can feel a bit forced and get a little tiresome. Thankfully, that is not the case here at all. Director Stephen Low does a masterful job mixing facts with stunning visuals. For example, we learn how ocean waves are formed due to the position of the moon and air pressure on Earth. Low uses a 3D animation sequence showing the planet spinning around the sun and the earth around the moon to demonstrate the effects of gravity on Earth's surface conditions. I learned a great deal on tides because of this. This teaching is done just right, because it's introduced at relevant points in the film, just when the audience is probably wondering, 'how does that work?' Of course this is a surfing movie, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the excellent surfing sequences. Going into this viewing, I knew very little about the sport. I had heard of Kelly Slater, but that was about it. After watching, I gained an appreciation for the difficulty. Watching Kelly Slater ride a massive wave is something special. His ability to make this look effortless is truly incredible. You will really see how surfing is a huge part of the Tahitian culture. Overall, I enjoyed 'The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti.' It tries to strike a balance between education, action, and culture and for the most part, it succeeds. Of course, this being an IMAX documentary, you would expect some incredible shots and saying this film excels there is an understatement. The 3D presentation is top notch and will practically transport you to the island. With a run time just over 40 minutes, this film is a great option for anyone looking for some good entertainment. --Steve Seebacher - highdefdigest.com
It's a little unsettling watching surfers chasing "the most dangerous wave on Earth" in The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti right now, as I'm reading news reports about tsunami damage. There are waves big enough to scare me in this 2009 travelogue, but fortunately nothing that could create the devastation seen in Japan. That said, The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti isn't a bad travelogue, and it fortunately isn't all about waves. True, it follows a group of surfers, including champ Kelly Slater, as they visit Tahiti resident Raimana van Bastolaer to catch a "big and gnarly" wave near the village of Teahupo'o. However, it's mostly a tour of Tahiti. It was done for IMAX, so it's a beautiful one. You'll see surfers out on the water, and the blue water is really blue. Moreover, the flora of Tahiti is really green, pink, yellow, and red. The colors are bright and gorgeous. There's also a diving scene to capture the underwater scenery. --Brandon DuHamel - Blu-RayDefinition.Com
It's a little unsettling watching surfers chasing "the most dangerous wave on Earth" in The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti right now, as I'm reading news reports about tsunami damage. There are waves big enough to scare me in this 2009 travelogue, but fortunately nothing that could create the devastation seen in Japan. That said, The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti isn't a bad travelogue, and it fortunately isn't all about waves. True, it follows a group of surfers, including champ Kelly Slater, as they visit Tahiti resident Raimana van Bastolaer to catch a "big and gnarly" wave near the village of Teahupo'o. However, it's mostly a tour of Tahiti. It was done for IMAX, so it's a beautiful one. You'll see surfers out on the water, and the blue water is really blue. Moreover, the flora of Tahiti is really green, pink, yellow, and red. The colors are bright and gorgeous. There's also a diving scene to capture the underwater scenery. My favorite shot was one of surfers walking against the skyline, with a rainbow behind them. There's also a nice performance of a Tahitian dance around and with fire. It's accompanied by music that's a combination of lilting Polynesian sounds and surf rock. The Ultimate Wave isn't just about pretty pictures, though. You're supposed to be learning something. To make that point, it includes a narrator delivering a lot of facts about Tahiti in with the melodramatic lines about waves. It also includes supposedly educational animations of such topics as the formation of the island or why there are waves. I know these are meant to distinguish the tour from the kind of cheesy travelogue that Anthony Bourdain mocks on his show, but they backfire, especially when ghostly canoeists paddle to Tahiti. The DVD includes a short travelogue (actually, another shorter travelogue) and five vignettes as extras. There's a rundown on board design, but these are mostly about providing more pretty pictures. I'm not much for thrill seeking, but the way this travelogue showcases the beauty of Tahiti mesmerized me. If you're dreaming of distant shores, it'll feed those dreams. --James A. Stewart - DVDverdict.com
The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti looks beautiful whether you watch it in 2D or 3D. The 3D encodement is in full 1080p and looks marvelous, with vivid colors and sharp details. The 3D effect, like most of these IMAX films, is more natural than featuring lots of pop-out, even featuring some moments that seem simply flat and 2D. Still, there is little ghosting/crosstalk. In 2D, the image is just a bit more textured and natural looking, but colors look about the same, with beautiful cerulean blue seas and lemon yellows. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is big, ambient, and dynamic, like most IMAX soundtracks are. The surround channels are used rather aggressively, filled with the foley effects of rushing waves. Narration is full and clear in the center channel while low frequencies are nicely extended and tight. This is one of the most fun-filled IMAX titles I have seen to date. The surfing scenes of Kelly Slater and his friends are amazing to watch and the rest of the visuals are just spectacular. Recommended. --Brandon DuHamel - Blu-RayDefinition.Com