A coral world teems with the bizarre, lovely

'The wobbegong shark looks like a shag carpet - until it moves," Jim Carrey says in "Under the Sea." At which point, of course, the thing does move, looking like, well, a fish camouflaged in shag carpeting.

"Under the Sea," a giant-screen 35-minute extravaganza shot in the Coral Triangle of Papua New Guinea and in the waters of Southern Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, is teeming with creatures that are likewise bizarre, beautiful, and otherworldly.

The work of husband-and-wife filmmakers (and divers) Howard and Michele Hall, "Under the Sea" - narrated by a mercifully restrained Carrey - uses the imposing Imax camera to get up-close-and-personal with the leafy sea dragon (something out of a fairy tale); the Australian sea lion (a sweet-faced mammal out of a Miyazaki cartoon); the venomous sea snake (a shimmering serpent with a paddlelike tail); the color-changing cuttlefish; and a troupe of dancing eels.

The footage is spectacular, the colors electric, the life aquatic trippier than anything you'll see in even the most wildly imaginative animated fare.

"Under the Sea" is playing in most science museums and Imax venues as "Under the Sea 3D" - but not here. Apparently, the Franklin's domed Imax theater is inhospitable to the 3D format, but no worries: When you're staring head-on into the maw of a humongous sea turtle as it munches merrily away on a jellyfish, and as hundreds of baby fishies zig in and out of your peripheral view, you may as well be wearing a diving helmet, swimming right there with these amazing finned things.


Contact movie critic Steven Rea

at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com.

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Under the Sea

Directed by Howard Hall. With Jim Carrey. Distributed by IMAX/Warner Bros..

Running time: 0 hours, 40 minutes.

Parent's guide: G ().