Plot: Journey to the South Pacific takes us inside the most diverse marine ecosystem on the planet, the tropical locale of West Papua in Indonesia. A young boy named Jawi spends a couple months aboard an educational vessel The Kalabia, which allows us to tour a good portion of West Papua and on that tour, soak in all kinds of beautiful sights above and below the surface. The tour lets us take in so many visual treats, but it also brings a strong message about the natural wonders being threatened, so there is a deeper, more relevant message as well.
Entertainment Value: I’ve seen a lot of nature documentaries and most are at least worth a look for the visuals, as the cameras capture some incredible images of the animals and locales. In the case of Journey to the South Pacific, there is a lot more than just visuals on deck and the documentary has an important message to deliver, not to mention a more dynamic, active experience than most of its peers. The setting on the Kalabia is a smart approach, as it dovetails with the experience so well and provides an effective framing device as well. The conservation theme is relevant and crucial, but the movie is able to integrate it into the rest of the material so well, it never feels like a sermon in the least. The visuals more than deliver as well, letting us experience the aquatic magic of the locale and that means a wide scope of species, all filmed up close and in striking detail. I loved seeing so many varieties of underwater life and when combined with the ecological narrative and brisk overall approach, Journey to the South Pacific is a terrific look under the sea.
The Disc: Mill Creek has launched this beautiful documentary with a 4k UHD release, a presentation that captures your attention out of the gate and offers a sizable step up over the also included Blu-ray edition. The image is crystal clear and razor sharp, showing the kind of deep, fine detail that reminds you how good 4k can look. The colors especially stand out in this one, with such vivid and rich hues throughout, really bringing the underwater world to life in grand fashion. Not all 4k releases leave a strong impression, but this is a fantastic visual presentation.