ROARS: 5 Out of 5
Rated: G / Run Time: 1 Hr. 30 Min.
CAST: Nature’s Aquatic All Stars
DIRECTOR(S): Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud
For the most part some of us tend to forget that when the art of filmmaking comes into play, some of the most unique filmmakers out there happen to be those who thrive on our planet as a whole, and take extreme measures to bring forth worlds some of us might not care about. I PERSONALLY know some, and I pity them as we humans aren’t all we think we are. So the next time we generally talk about who we enjoy as a Director, or perhaps how great so and so is as Director of Photography, please keep in mind that for the most part, these people DO WORK HARD in order to convert pages into scenes, and they deserve ALL the respect in the world. However, as hard as they may work, with all due respect, there are those out there who are raising the bar just a bit more than your usual as they’re tackling a filmmaking journey with so many complexities, it can actually be considered a matter of life, and death. No disrespect on anyone else… all I’m saying here is – Hey, lets give some kudos to those who serve life threatening tours of filmmaking duty as they’re out there devoting time with what’s REAL (Example: Documenting Lives, Nature, Wars etc.), versus working with those on an ego-trip who basically memorize words, lend themselves to an emotional piece, and run through 10 takes before they’re done with a scene, and then off to play on their blackberries as crew sets for their next take.
With that said, the immersion into beauty on display in Disneynature’s second release, OCEANS, is staggering and absolutely remarkable. Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud stunned audience with equal amounts of genius in 2001 with WINGED MIGRATION in which they took that audience and transported them into the skies. The oceans below are filled with similar wonder, and the film, though maybe not as “groundbreaking” as their first collaboration nor as structured as EARTH, Disneynature’s first film, is a masterpiece of visual imagery. It is a film that shows you things you never thought you would see right alongside things you never even knew existed.
Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, OCEANS takes us to the five oceans that make up 70% of the planet’s surface. Each of these are home to life-forms both strange and familiar. Whether we are witnessing creatures that we’ve seen a dozen times like the great blue whale or the penguins of the Arctic or those we never even knew roamed the oceans like the silky and colorful blanket octopus, we know Perrin and Cluzaud are going to show us something breathtaking. This they do, time and time again.
Look ma, it’s JAWS, and me!
But what makes OCEANS more than your typical, television program about life in the deep blue sea, beautiful photography aside, is the abundance with which the directors present their subjects. The film becomes a slaughter of life, full with the animals and plant life that make up the ecosystems just under the surface of the water. However, Perrin and Cluzaud never lose us with nonstop movement between different places in the world, and we begin to see the connections that run from scene to scene. And they do this all in under 90 minutes, a grand achievement in its own right. Piling this number of varying scenes together in under an hour and a half must have taken an extraordinary amount of care in the editing room, never mind allowing each scene to breath and live on its own.
One scene in particular showing life along a coral reef at night is ten minutes of sheer brilliance. It brings on some genuine laughs, as well, as the creatures we watch (some of the stranger ones, at that) seem to go about their daily routine, one crab even taking some time out to clean a bit of house. Another scene featuring baby green turtles and their trek to the sea is motivating and almost sad to watch, as well, as we watch as dozens of them race towards the water, hungry gulls circling overhead.
Brosnan’s mediocre narration doesn’t offer much other than giving us the names of some of the more unfamiliar fish MOST of us might not know about. However, there is a moment where his narration really comes home, though, late in the film when the subject of pollution and the veins they create into the oceans is broached. Perrin and Cluzaud, not shying away nor interfering with the way of the world, illicit a sense of disgust and heartbreak as we watch a seal nudging at and puzzling over a rusty shopping cart. (How that cart got there is beyond anyone’s comprehension.) It’s a moment that makes you frown at your fellow man, and more of it may have helped the case OCEANS makes against such pollution.
From there, we move to the arctic where we watch as glaciers and icebergs are breaking apart, the polar bears who use them as home falling into the ocean. The pains of pollution and global warming are made all the more apparent by the images the directors give us, but it seems to come at an odd time in the film, almost like trying to learn a lesson just after a particularly fun recess.
Nonetheless, the beauty and magnificence of our world is captured from beginning to end with OCEANS. The technical achievement here is unquestionable. Whether it is a man swimming right alongside a great white shark, massive whale resting in the water completely upside down, or two converging armies of crabs that turn into a moving floor of shells and legs, OCEANS is a film that takes your breath away with its own beauty and magnificence.