The story of Nanu, a polar bear cub, and Seela, a walrus pup, come to life in Arctic Tale. Set in the beautiful ice-bound Arctic, the two young animals struggle for survival in their harsh surroundings. Armed only with their instints and their mother's guidance, these two inspiring animals must face countless trials and challenges in order to thrive in their rapidly changing environment. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include up-front previews, the featurettes Making Of Arctic Tale (24 minutes) and Are We There Yet? World Adventure: Polar Bear Spotting (seven minutes), the original theatrical trailer for this film, and additional previews.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD exhibits a gritty texture, and with unconvincing black levels, the imagery can look flat and undefined. Details often look soft, occasionally even looking smeared. Shadow delineation is generally lacking in the near blacks, with details in these portions of the image looking crushed. Colors can be adequately well saturated and natural-looking, and contrast is balanced well. Whites are nicely balanced, showing good detail without noticeable crush and no blooming. Edge enhancement is apparent, and source element and compression artifacts can be recognized throughout. The H.264 AVC-encoded HD DVD shows a modest improvement over the DVD, although the level of detail is not improved as much as the typical high-definition release will provide over its DVD. The harsh texture is still somewhat of a distraction, and much of the posteration and shimmering artifacts that could be seen in the DVD can also be recognized in this version. Occasionally the picture looks impressive, but generally it is woefully inconsistent, which is a shame considering the beautifully shot sceneries. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack sounds harsh and digitized, with an in-your-face, forward presence that limits the audible depth of the encoding. Atmospheric effects are delivered admirably using each of the full-range channels, and music is mixed fairly well across the front stage. Fidelity is fairly good with respect to music, but animal sounds can sound out of place with relatively poor integration with the rest of the sounds. Narration sounds harsh and bloated. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding does not provide much of an improvement over the DVD's encoding, although narration does sound slightly less harsh. (Danny Richelieu)