AWFJ Women On Film – “Oceans” – Review by Susan Granger

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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, 2010, Disneynature delves into a true-life adventure: “Oceans.” Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, who made “Winged Migration” about creatures of the air, now dive deep into the mysterious waters that cover nearly three-quarters of our planet’s surface. For this Franco/Spanish/Swiss co-production, they filmed more than 200 species on 75 diving expeditions in 54 different locations in all five oceans over a period of four years.

Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, this environmentalist saga of watery wonders begins with earth creatures like marine iguanas, horseshoe crabs and leatherback turtles and ventures from the far north – with its polar bears – south to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and culminates with a northern elephant seal. Working within the eat-or-be-eaten theme, the exotic, often odd, images are spectacular, captured by remote-controlled helicopters hovering over humpback whales and “torpedo” cameras towed by speeding boats alongside traveling tuna, leaping dolphins and fast-swimming sardines.

Harsh reality sets in, as the filmmakers reveal how – in just one generation – man has polluted the seas with toxic waste and by industrial over-fishing. Sensitive souls should be reassured that – at the end of the final credits – there’s a notation that no creatures were harmed during the shooting of the film and that the shark massacre footage was reconstructed. It’s just too bad that more about the marine life ecosystems isn’t explained.

Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 true-life adventures that earned eight Academy Awards between 1949 and 1960, including “Sea Island,” “Beaver Valley,” “The Living Desert” and “Jungle Cat.” Disneynature was launched in 2008 with the release of “Earth,” bringing together the world’s top nature filmmakers to chronicle a variety of wildlife subjects for theater audiences.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Oceans” is a visually stunning, intriguing, inspirational 8. Through the “See OCEANS, Save Oceans” initiative, Disneynature will make a contribution to The Nature Conservancy to save endangered coral reefs in the Bahamas for every ticket sold during opening week. For more details, visit www.disney.com/Oceans.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.