Disney found success in 2009 with its nature documentary, earth. Disney decided to revisit this genre this past Earth Day (4/22), bringing us Oceans, an aquatic documentary narrated by Mr. Class himself, Pierce Brosnan. As an admirer of nature and the many mysteries it has to offer, I was immediately intrigued when I first came across the movie poster in the midst of another bitter Midwest winter. Documentaries aren’t necessarily a big hit amongst the masses as far as theater appearances go, and I am in the minority as I await them with curiosity and anticipation.
Early on in the film, it is mentioned that we have explored less than five percent of our world’s oceanic environments. With that in mind, you think someone would have reached the five and six-percent milestone so we could see something new. While Oceans is chock full of educational content, it is all for not if there is no entertainment value to assist in the delivery. Pierce Brosnan works well as the narrator and the film’s footage is 100% beautiful. However, if you are going to educate, you need to make it interesting, and for the most part, interesting this was not.
There were parts here and there that were attention grabbing, such as the Braveheart-like battle between virtual armies of spider crabs off the coast of Australia. We’re talking about thousands of long-limbed crabs, closing in on one another in the form of two warring factions, with fierce determination and an eight-legged step. There was no visible portion of the ocean floor once their engagement began.
One other engrossing scene was one of the most memorable pieces of footage I have ever experienced as a diver swam side by side with a fully grown great white shark. It was absolutely gorgeous and awe-inspiring at the same time. There are not enough words to truly describe the beauty found in this scene. The feared beast of the deep is not so beastly after all.
While these highlights were truly impressive, they were grossly outnumbered by those scenes that were just old hat in the underwater documentary genre. I have an undeniable respect for the environment and do my best to keep others aware of what they can do to keep things sustainable. I mention this so no one gets the impression that I’m some average shmo talking smack about a nature flick. I can appreciate the work that went into this production and those great scenes I mentioned are not the only positives. Still, this film did what few films do; it put me to sleep. It’s delivery from one scene to the next was sometimes as choppy as a stormy sea and Brosnan’s narration is interrupted by significant periods of silence. If you are up for a good documentary about our natural world, I suggest BBC’s Planet Earth and the soon to be released Life.