Celebrate one of the ocean's most important -- but endangered -- habitats in "The Last Reef," a new IMAX film opening Friday, Jan. 18, that will bring a kaleidoscope of fish, coral and other animals to the giant screen of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
The film, which emphasizes our connection with -- and responsibilities to -- the complex ocean world, will play at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily through June 20 in Connecticut's largest IMAX theater.
"This is a gorgeous film that all ages will appreciate, for its animal images and also for its urgent message about how human activities are damaging reefs around the globe," said Jack Schneider, the aquarium's curator of animals.
"The Last Reef" offers a simple introduction to coral reefs, including their need for sunlight, how they form, and how they provide sustenance and shelter for an incredible diversity of other marine life. The film's stunning imagery immerses audiences in reef communities -- among familiar dolphins, sharks and rays, but also lesser-known species, such as crocodile fish, nudibranchs and flatworms.
Whale sharks, jellyfish, moray eels, clownfish and other diverse animals swim across the giant screen as "The Last Reef" visits reefs and atolls in Palau, the Bahamas and French Polynesia. The beauty, however, is disappearing.
Reefs are vanishing five times faster than rain forests, according to the film. Happily, "The Last Reef" shows that reefs are resilient, citing the example of Bikini Atoll, where reefs have regrown following their destruction from nuclear testing in the 1940s.
"The Last Reef" is 40 minutes long. It recently received the prizes for best music and best sound at the 2012 Giant Screen Cinema Association Awards.
Tickets for an IMAX movie are $9.50, $8.50 for seniors 65 and older, and $7 for children ages 2-12.
To include a visit into the Maritime Aquarium with an IMAX film, tickets are $24.95, $22.95 for both youths (ages 13-17) and seniors (65 and older), and $17.95 for children 2-12.
For tickets or more details, visit www.maritimeaquarium.org or call 203-852-0700, ext. 2206.