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