Official film description...
Set in the vast snowy kingdom at the top of the world “Arctic Tale” is a documentary film from the National Geographic Society about the life cycle of a walrus and her calf, and a polar bear and her cubs, in a similar vein to the 2005 hit production March of the Penguins, also from National Geographic.
Join narrator Queen Latifah as she delves into the unfamiliar icy world of the North Pole. The narration tells the story of two very different arctic creatures, Nanu, the polar bear cub, and Seela, the walrus pup and their exciting and harrowing struggles for survival. Armed only with their natural instincts and mothers' guidance, these inspiring animals face countless trials and challenges in a beautiful icebound world that is rapidly melting beneath them.
While it appears to follow the life cycle of two individual animals, a polar-bear cub dubbed “Nanu” and a walrus calf named “Seela,” from birth through maturity, both animals are composite characters, assembled to fit a fictionalized but information-packed narrative.
Notes on the film...
The footage used in Arctic Tale was filmed over the span of 15 years by filmmakers Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson, along with the National Geographic Natural History Unit and others who record wildlife. They compiled over 800 hours worth of clips of animals that are typically hard to catch on camera, such as the polar bear and walrus.
Throughout the film, narrator Queen Latifah makes allusions to how the rising temperature is affecting the animals in the ice kingdom. A message at the end of the animal footage notes that if the current trend continues, there will be no Arctic ice remaining by the year 2040. During the closing credits, several children talk about how global warming has had a detrimental effect on the animals such as the ones in Arctic Tale as well as the people around the world.
Rating from our film jury...
Selected for the Films for the Earth Festival 2014.
The film explains correlations realistically. We see rarely shown pictures and get an insight into the animals’ lives at the North Pole. The journalistic performance and the documentation quality are appealing up to good, the film treats a highly relevant issue and refers to our planet as ecological basis of life.
“Arctic Tale” is an intelligent, very entertaining and tender film which stimulates mind and soul. The film clearly imparts knowledge and facts. However, the impact of human activities on our planet and our lives in general is not clearly presented.
The children’s film is very touching and awakens deep respect, astonishment and appreciation for creation, for individual expression and diversity. In addition, the film evokes empathy and compassion.
“Arctic Tale” is very well structured; the pictures and scenes reflect the content very well. The film stands out due to its unique pictures and scenes of high-quality. The remarkable camerawork and the good soundtrack make the funny but also tragic film an absolute experience.
“The directors (who call Arctic Tale a “wildlife adventure” rather than a documentary) make the point that life is becoming less simple in the Arctic, due to global warming which lengthens the summer, eradicates the ice on which the animals live, and shrinks their territory, causing competition and starvation. This message is delivered with restraint and without politics, accusations, or exhortations—at least until the end, when a crowd of cute kids start shouting out energy-saving tips: plant trees, drive hybrids, etc. Like so much about the script, it's grating, cloying, and crashingly unsubtle, and it goes a long way toward erasing the warm feelings and reverent awe inspired by the images of a walrus cradling her newborn calf in her flippers.” – A V Club
Technical information and screening rights...
Director: Adam Ravetch, Sarah Robertson
Script: Linda Woolverton, Mose Richards, Kristin Gore
Production: National Geographic Films
Run Time: 81 minutes
Language (Audio): German, English
Age restriction: 6