The Critics love To The Arctic

Our new film To The Arctic, the first of the One World One Ocean campaign, opened Friday in IMAX theatres across the US and Canada. Four years in the making, the film chronicles a courageous polar bear family and other Arctic wildlife, as they navigate life in a changing Arctic. It includes incredible footage of polar bears up close, and underwater, and gives audiences an experience that is truly as close as you can get to being there without traveling to the Arctic.

Director Greg MacGillivray, and Producer Shaun MacGillivray were in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles for premieres and interviews, and the media coverage has been tremendous. Here are a few comments from critics.

“Verdict: SEE IT!”
—Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood

“Visually stunning.”
—Scott Bowles, USA Today

“An Arctic tale that melts hearts.”

─Susan King

Los Angeles Times

“The IMAX image is in 3D, providing a dazzlingly immersive experience. It’s a more impressionistic look than a thorough-going one—yet each segment is meant to remind that you’re seeing animals struggling to adapt, to survive as the climate changes around them. It’s not meant to be authoritative; still, the blend of riveting visuals and stories of each species’ shrin king habitat carries an impact. At 40 minutes, To The Arctic hopefully will be shown to kids in schools, on field trips to their local IMAX theater. It’s a way of lighting the fuse of consciousness about looming environmental catastrophe, while offering a captivating film at the same time.”
—Marshall Fine, Huffington Post

“It looked absolutely amazing.”

“Its breathtaking photography has a purpose beyond pretty pictures: to remind us that climate change is causing the frigid Arctic to melt, bringing disruption and challenges to the animals who can only live in snow and ice.”
—Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

“Amazingly, in a succinct 40 minutes the viewer is awed and alarmed, captivated and inspired by To The Arctic which lays out the extreme conditions and consequences of climate change – shown in all of the Arctic’s glory.”
—Robert Cruger, TreeHugger

“45 minutes of some of the most breathtaking film ever captured of the top of the world….serving as the first of many more future IMAX films and TV specials that will be part of the One World One Ocean campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the state of our oceans. I, for one, cannot wait until the next installment and will definitely do what I can to help preserve the Arctic.”
—Helena Chao, Epoch Times

“If you’re not itching to throw on a Superman cape and save the whole damn world by the time the credits roll, we can’t help you.”
—Cassandra Landry, Boston Phoenix

“To the Arctic 3-D is an impassioned plea for action on global warming, and the passion is intensified by the music. Watch the mother nestle her cubs to the strains of “Calico Skies”—“It was written that I would love you”—and you want to weep, then buy a solar panel.”
—Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“To The Arctic is a real-life snapshot of what’s happening to our planet, brought to life for audiences through the eyes of one polar bear family in an unparalleled IMAX viewing experience.”
Mission Blue

“Filmmaking and narration so good, it will give you the shivers. The film is beautifully made, and you will not be astonished to learn Meryl Streep’s narration is perfect…Gorgeous, intelligent and clear.”

—Chris Hewitt,

“It never gets too cutesy nor too somber, balancing weighty conservation issues with a true sense of awe. It refuses to soft-peddle the gravity of the situation, but also basks in sheer reverie at the beauty of the landscape and the fascinating creatures inhabiting it.”
—Ben Lybarger, Cleveland Movie Blog

“The Arctic is melting out from under the paws (and flippers) of some of the world’ most magnificent animals, a message cloaked in two unassailable truths – motherhood and cute babies – in the new IMAX film, To The Arctic 3D. Astonishing cinematography, majestic landscapes and the chance to see a polar bear dismantling a robotic camera to see what makes it tick. It’s a rare case of nature defeating technology.”
—Jay Stone, Post Media News

“The new film about polar bears, caribou and climate change –”To the Arctic 3D”, which opens Friday at the Pacific Science Center — is majestic but deeply unsettling, and hopefully will focus eyes to the North and minds to our planet’s future.”

—Joel Connelly, Seattle Post Intelligencer

The huge IMAX 3D format is, as always, somewhat overwhelming – just the thing to help put across the astonishing grandeur of the Arctic region.The film is a wonder to look at and it’s endlessly fascinating.”

—Liz Braun, Toronto Sun

“The cinematography of To the Arctic is spectacular with underwater views and sweeping landscape shots, one of the most memorable being the enormous waterfalls cascading from the massive ice floes.”

—Tazi Phillips, Global Animal

The Hollywood Reporter “Meryl Streep narrates a heartwarming documentary for an up close look at Arctic wildlife. Greg MacGillivray, arguably the leading practitioner of the giant-screen format, gives the northernmost latitudes their first IMAX close-up in To The Arctic. The intimate family saga of a heroic polar bear and her two young cubs gives the film its emotional power. It (the 3D) heightens the feeling of being with the filmmakers on the ice. MacGillivray and cinematographer Brad Ohlund, no strangers to ocean documentaries, incorporate terrific underwater footage of the massive bears swimming, and of cameramen at work beside them, whether in risky dives or on the surface.” ─Sheri Linden

Boston Globe “To The Arctic is a riveting journey. (It) is a visually dazzling movie. It gives us icebergs gushing with waterfalls cruelly made more majestic by the ice’s rapid melting. It documents polar bears in all kinds or conditions and from just about every vantage point imaginable, including underwater and under siege.”          ─ Janice Page

Chicago Sun Times

“This is a lovingly and stunningly shot work, especially considering the frequently harsh weather conditions under which it was made in the beautiful and deadly Arctic Circle. Sweeping views of floating sea ice, close ups of waterfall-streaked glaciers, you-are-there peeks at the various beasts (polar bears, walruses, birds, caribou) that call them home, balletic underwater footage, bear cubs rolling and frolicking and sparring like Dempsey and Firpo – it’s all larger than life and in your face, thanks to a towering IMAX screen and 3D specs that actually enhance the experience rather than simply cause annoyance.”

─ Mike Thomas,

Metro, New York

“You’ll find yourself “ooh”-ing “ahh”-ing, especially at the adorable polar bear cubs and the fierce loyalty that their mother feels towards them.”

─ Meredith Engel

Toronto Globe & Mail

“Acclaimed large-format documentary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray knows more than a thing or two about braving the elements. He led the team that made the chilling box-office hit Everest. And the lifelong surfer has made several fine IMAX films about the briny wilderness (The Living Sea, Dolphins, etc.) To The Arctic 3D kicks off a multiplatform education and conservation campaign that is an extension of the MacGillivray’s new non-profit charitable foundation One World One Ocean. The giant screen seems like just the right place to show landlubbers why they should care more deeply about the world’s oceans.”

─ Jennie Punter

Toronto National Post

“Oscar-collector Meryl Streep narrates To The Arctic, a breathtaking new IMAX film about the top of the world, where rising temperatures threaten the survival of its inhabitants. The views of immense glittering glaciers, unending turquoise water and white waterfalls are of infinite grandeur. Two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins) and his team went to extraordinary lengths to bring viewers these images. The film runs a fast 40 minutes – it’s like a PBS special supersized. But in that time, MacGillivray is able to inspire awe and warm the heart.”

─ Melissa Leong ,

Denver Post

“To The Arctic 3D” comes by way of IMAX nature film whiz Greg MacGillivray. Meryl Streep narrates and Sir Paul McCartney wrote the songs, which are a lovely mix of lullabies and ballads for a small (getting smaller) planet and its creatures. Yes, it’s a classy affair, but the 40-minute doc’s at times nerve-wracking power comes from the subjects who put a furry face on the ongoing and daunting issue of climate change.”

─ Lisa Kennedy

Minneapolis Star


“The 3D IMAX images are jaw-dropping.”

─ Colin Covert

Seattle Movie Freak

“Breathtaking scene follows breathtaking eye-popping scene, each one seemingly better than the other as MacGillivray and his crackerjack team go out of their way to showcase this brutal and unforgiving landscape in all its beauteous fury. To The Arctic does offer up moments of ebullient beauty that held me spellbound.”

─ Sara Michella Fetters

The Virginian-Pilot

“From its opening scene, when the film throws tons of an ice continent at its audience, “To The Arctic 3D” is visually awesome. In terms of giving you the shivers, it’s the coolest movie since “Doctor Zhivago.”

─ Mal Vincent

Film Journal


“To The Arctic 3D is being presented through the One World One Ocean Foundation. The director cites the work of Jacques Cousteau, who in the 1960’s would broadcast as many as three or four ocean-related television specials a year. ‘The ocean needs a voice in the entertainment base, and we’re going to try to bring the same continuity of effort that Cousteau did some 40 years ago,’ he says. To that end, in its closing credits To The Arctic offers concrete advice to viewers concerned about oceanic issues, especially with regard to energy. MacGillivray Freeman’s commitment to environmental problems has helped place the company at the forefront of large-format film production. Titles like Everest, Dolphins and Grand Canyon Adventure have earned over a billion dollars at the box office, a new benchmark for documentary filmmakers. ‘We love to take moviegoers to where they’re not able to go on their own – into outer space, to the bottom of the ocean, to the top of Mount Everest,’ MacGillivray says. From its opening shots, a majestic aerial view of a glacial shelf complete with calving icebergs, To The Arctic 3D more than fulfills that goal.”

─ Daniel Eagan


“Kids Stuff I Love” blog,

“To The Arctic, a cast of polar bears will warm your heart. I am a huge fan of local (Laguna Beach) film company, MacGillivray Freeman Films. While they produce films that cover a vast number of different topics (from climbing Mt. Everest to underwater sealife to exotic lands) each film obviously originates from the same voice. For me, the commonality to this film company’s films (the ones that I have seen) is that in addition to always having incredible cinematography, the films capture a part of humankind and its relationship with each other and the animal kingdom that evokes compassion. The message is a sense of universal oneness. Each film experience is richly satisfying and rewarding while also thought-provoking and in some cases worrying. Last weekend I was able to take my 12-year-old to a pre-screening of To The Arctic: 3D, a co-production from Warner Bros. Pictures, MacGillivray Freeman Films and IMAX Corporation, released in tandem with MacGillivray Freeman film’s new campaign, One World One Ocean, a 20 year multi-platform project utilizing a variety of media in order to create awareness of the ocean’s importance to the world. I was excited to sit back and let the giant-screen delude me into thinking that I was on the North Pole with the seemingly huggable polar bears. And the film delivered – it was stunning! Not “oh, that was really pretty!” Stun-NING!!: so intensely vivid one’s mouth automatically drops open as one’s eyes race to each corner of the screen trying to absorb the entire shot before it changes. Lush waterfalls carried from giant ice formations to water so blue it seems fake. Aerial shots of herds of animals so vast, it seems as though they must cover the entire planet. Playful shots of polar bear mothers and cubs that are reminiscent on one’s own family time. It is the film’s eye candy that is so enjoyable.

The Huffington Post

“To The Arctic” is indeed an eye opening look into now the Arctic needs our protection.” 

─ Jessica Leader

The Flyer Group, Indianapolis “This is the type of film for which our theater was specifically built,” says Craig Mince, theater manager of the Downtown Indy IMAX. “Watching polar bears dive into the frigid Arctic waters on our six-story screen and feel the rumble from a herd of caribou through 12,000 watts of digital surround sound stimulates the senses for sure.” A journey to the top of the world as few people have ever seen it, “To The Arctic 3D” tells a tale of survival, with global implications.”



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