Oceans (Disneynature, G)

The movie, which is narrated by Pierce Brosnan, opens by showing the sheer power of the ocean, then slowly begins its trek into the vastly different life forms that call the ocean their home.

 

The photography in Disneynature’s Oceans is absolutely breathtaking and paints the underwater world with beautiful clarity. Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have captured glimpses into environments that few people ever get to see and introduce the audience (mostly made up of children) to the importance of understanding and preserving our planets limited water ecosystems.

The movie, which is narrated by Pierce Brosnan, opens by showing the sheer power of the ocean, then slowly begins its trek into the vastly different life forms that call the ocean their home. Brosnan guides us along as we encounter a wide variety of fish, mammals, crustaceans and other species that survive in the water in various ways, each balancing the survival of one or a number of other species.

The main theme Perrin and Cluzaud focus on is how reliant the ocean’s animals are on one another and the health of the ocean. For example, the directors capture stunning footage of a feeding frenzy on one school of fish that attracts dolphins, sharks, whales, and even birds, each of which rely on instinct to follow the migration of the fish to this spot and not to disturb the other customers at this smorgasbord in the middle of the ocean.

Other feeding habits aren’t as enjoyable to watch, though. But, great white sharks and killer whales have to hunt and eat just like every other animal in the ocean. Unfortunately, their meal choice sometimes involves cute seals or sea lions which, though they are not graphic in any way, will be more cringe-inducing than other scenes in the movie. These scenes are quick and usually involve a greater focus on the animal than the attack itself.

Perrin and Cluzaud do a fantastic job of highlighting not just the overwhelming quantity of life in the ocean, but the diversity amongst the species as well. The directors take time to focus on the many varieties that dwell in a world we might never get to see for ourselves. Evolution and adaptation, Brosnan tells us, is how many of the fish and crustaceans have managed to survive for hundreds of thousands of years. They camouflage themselves to blend into their surroundings which, for some, is their only chance for protection. Nature will find a way to survive no matter how many factors are working against it.

Not surprisingly, the movie ends with a pretty straightforward message about how humans have polluted the oceans and how we can save them by being more conscious of our actions and trying our hardest to watch how much waste we put out. This is to be expected since the movie is opening on Earth Day and the Disneynature has not tried to hide its agenda. Still, the audience is not beaten over the head with websites to visit or phone numbers to call so the movie remains entertaining instead of digressing into activist advertising.

Children will love Oceans because of the stunning and wonderful work by directors Perrin and Cluzaud. Parents will love the movie because it raises more questions than it answers which will give families a chance to learn even more about the oceans after they leave the theater. | Matthew F. Newlin

 

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