Marking the first time Meryl Streep’s name has appeared in a film’s credits and then exploded, this IMAX 3-D documentary misses no opportunity to supersize its portrait of life on the melting ice caps. The camera zips past waterfalls shooting glacial runoff into the ocean and watches polar bears search for a stable footing amid the slush, each crack beneath their paws amplified until it sounds like a gunshot in a cathedral. Haphazard commentary fails to paper over the information gaps, and even Streep’s narration can’t sell the description of the Northern Lights’ “frisky dance.” For all the hardware involved, To the Arctic’s ultra-high-def images have an oddly plastic sheen. Somebody give Werner Herzog an IMAX camera already, and let’s see what a real filmmaker does with the format.
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