3.5 stars, (NR)
Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D is a great-looking IMAX travelogue/surf documentary. The 46-minute film opens Friday on the giant screen at the downtown IMAX in the Indiana State Museum building, the best place in town to see a movie. Thanks to the 3D technology, you repeatedly get splashed without ever getting wet. The camera work is impressive, including shots taking from the front of the surfboard during the beginning of a run. There's a dash of science - dealing with waves - and history - dealing with the French Polynesian culture, but the bulk of the film consists of surf and surf-related footage.
Nine-time world-surfing champion Kelly Slater arrives in Tahiti, where he socializes and surfs with Raimana van Bastolaer and a few friends. I wish the filmmakers had let us get to know the men a little more. Both are affable guys, especially van Bastolaer, but there's no insight into either fellow. I'm not asking for in-depth portraits, just a bit more personality, the kind of individual color that most surf documentaries provide. A few shots of Tahitian life away from the beach would have been welcome as well.
But then, the film is called Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, and that's just what you get. Is it one of the great IMAX documentaries? No, but some of the footage is thrilling, almost all of it beautiful and hey, it's surfing... in 3D!