This IMAX feature travels the Greek coastline, detailing the countries sometimes mysterious, cultural, and even advanced historical past. While blasé to any Greek historian, casual viewers are likely to be sucked into these bronze-era stories, the invention of democracy, and the downfall of a populace too thick to realize they could fail.
While Nia Vardalos is labeled as the narrator, much of Greece is told from the perspective of archaeologist Christos Doumas. His findings – from raw materials inscribed with early alphabets to intricate paintings of the eras – tell their own story, revealing a culture involved in the arts, sports, and of course, war.
Relics and ruins are reconstructed for the bulky IMAX cameras, given new life in 70mm and computer rendering technology. A statue of Athena is especially brilliant in its digital construction, adding a sense of scale to some tourists staring in awe of the virtual piece.
The coastline and a potential location for the lost kingdom of Atlantis are in constant view of the camera, the aerials soaking in the unique landscapes and lush, clear waters. There’s certainly no loss of scenery to eat up, or lightly laid out educational value. Nothing is repetitious or poured on too thick, making it easy to take in and enjoy. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
IMAX features continue their wonky trek onto Blu-ray, the likes of Arabia a majestic, brilliant piece of home video, Greece completely out of its league. Completed in 2006, Greece looks 10 years older, the pervasive softness, filtering, judder, and print damage excessive for any film, let alone one that’s supposed to stun with a 70mm source.
Aerials, of which there are many, die out immediately with their fuzzy, imprecise qualities. Modern cities are flushed with overbearing, bleeding colors, smearing as the camera moves, and needlessly processed. It seems there’s an inconsistent layer of DNR and mild sharpening tearing this source apart, never meeting in any sort of natural medium.
The grain structure, which should be nearly invisible given its light structure, is elevated on bright sources. A shot of a sunset contains dancing dots thanks to the intrusive sharpening, as does a shot of a white church. The AVC encode itself is high-powered enough. This shouldn’t happen.
There are a handful of great looking views, shots where the water doesn’t look like a thick, mucus-infused liquid. Those are outstanding, but also the exception rather than the rule. The footage itself is great, aided by typically firm black levels, just crushed under a mountain of unnecessary technical additions. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Video]
Greece’s audio highlight is a volcanic eruption, rumbling into the sub with sufficient oomph and the pyroclastic flow sweeping overhead. Sure, it’s the death of an entire civilization, but at least it sounds good (too soon?).
The DTS-HD mix shows off when it can, a short visit to a blacksmith sparking into the rears with a nicely dimensional effect that travels front to back. Imaging is precise and clean. Music also has a way of keeping a dominating presence, vocals soaring on the highs and instrumentals taking over the surrounds and stereos. IMAX features adore those engulfing aural experiences as much as they do the visual side of things. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
The 22-minute making-of is standard fare for IMAX, an honest, and further educating feature. The History of Magillvray Freeman Films is a carry over from some of the other studio productions, a seven-minute look at their extensive line of work. Sixteen trailers and BD-Live access are also awaiting your arrival. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.
Note: This disc is part of the MacGillivary Freeman Limited Edition Gift Set, containing 10 of the IMAX features from their library. The Greece: Secrets of the Past disc in the set is identical to the stand-alone retail release.