Directors: Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud
Running Time: 1:27
Release Date: 4/22/10
Review by Mark Dujsik | April 22, 2010
are some simply, absolutely hypnotic moments in Oceans.
Fish form a whirlpool-like funnel. Two
schools of fish merge with precision. A
microscopic view of the water reveals an image that looks like those from space.
is Disneynature's follow-up to Earth,
although the tone of the two couldn't be more different. Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud oversee this sprawling inspection of
life under the sea with few attempts to anthropomorphize its subjects. The voice-over is sparse and more interested in dealing directly with the
imagery on the screen than helping the audience along.
film's narrative efforts are a bit scattershot, surely the result of trying to
condense the life, allure, danger, beauty, and mystery of ecosystems that make
up almost three-quarters of Earth into an hour and a half of material. Take into account that half of that is almost 10,000 feet deep, and one
realizes that the film only scratches the surface of what there is to discover,
explore, and examine.
after showing spectacular footage of waves crashing in different directions in
the middle of the ocean, a marine iguana on the Galapagos Islands watches with
an unaware stare as a shuttle launches into orbit. Humans moved the object of exploration into space midway through the last
century, and Perrin and Cluzaud's film, perhaps above all its other arguments
and stories, makes clear that while we are heading toward the stars to discover
the mysteries of the universe, there is still much to find at the heart of our
ocean, after all, is where life on Earth began, intones narrator Pierce Brosnan,
affecting a genuine tone of respectful wonder throughout. These early sequences, watching formations of jellyfish, horseshoe crabs
wandering onto the shore—before reminding us that their ancestors millions of
years ago would never have been able to do such—and that aforementioned
extreme close-up look at a crustacean egg hovering like a planet amidst the
stars of even smaller particles, are a reminder of the water's importance for
life then and now.
there, the film begins its study of members of the ocean family. A pod of dolphins races toward its food, and gulls appear overhead,
diving into the water like torpedoes. It
is, indeed, a feeding frenzy, and this is even before the whales and sharks show
up to join in the feast.
and Cluzaud employ an extensive array of underwater shots—the gulls
dive-bombing to feed, the trek of the marine iguana to land, and long sequences
roaming around a coral reef are just a few examples—and they are stunning to
mass dining is an example of what some call the harsh realities of nature, but
the film wisely understands that such things are merely the realities. The context of such events is grounded in distanced
observation. When baby sea turtles hatch from their nest under the sand of the beach,
they begin that treacherous crawl toward the sea. Birds of prey circle overhead, grabbing the tiny creatures en
masse. One out of thousand makes it to the water; cuteness is not a factor for
survival. That one, which
triumphantly swims out to see as the birds swoop down unable to grab it, is
enough to maintain the species.
film spends a lot of time in coral reefs, places where nature decided " to
try everything." All sorts of
colorful species inhabit these areas, from the chameleon-like cuttlefish, to the
innocent-looking but deadly stonefish, to a sea slug named the "Spanish
dancer" for its swim that looks like a flapping skirt.
an intrinsically conservationist bent to material like this, and the point is
made more directly with startling satellite images showing the runoff of
pollution from streams to rivers to the ocean. A sea lion hovers around a submerged shopping cart in dingy, dirty
water. A sea turtle is trapped in a net along with the fishermen's actual goal,
the already critical endangered bluefin tuna. As the net is drawn up, a recognizable cloud of red saturates the crystal
Copyright © 2010 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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