Disneynature Oceans

| October 6, 2010

Disney’s latest documentary installment in their popular Nature franchise explores the world of the vast and powerful underwater world which encompasses over 71% of the earth’s surface, the ocean.
With eloquent, though somewhat stoic, narration by Pierce Brosnan, he opens the film with a simple and yet complex question: “What is the Ocean?” In truth, being land-loving humans that we are, I doubt we’ll ever truly know. However, Director’s Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud help us reveal at least part of the answer by taking us on a spectacular hi-definition exploration of the ocean’s unusual underbelly, from the Galapagos Islands to Antarctica.
We are enthralled as the cameras capture Dolphins flying through the water diving for sardines like bombs falling from planes. We are amazed when schools of fish pattern themselves to look more like a beautiful tornado cyclone than sea creatures. And we float along the journey in awe as the footage slides along the side of a Blanket Octopus, which could easily be mistaken for the silk scarves it’s compared to.
However, unlike some of Disney’s other nature films, I found this one lacked an ability to capture character within each species that would quickly evoke the compassion I believe the film was aiming for. Somewhat ironic, given Brosnan’s line “Merely knowing the creatures exist isn’t enough to tell the story of their lives.” My sentiments exactly. Unfortunately, though the film itself recognizes this issue, it does little to deliver.
I will say, however, that in Antarctica we find our most loveable characters of the film. Our shining beacons. The clumsy penguins, as charming as ever. The lone Polar Bear, looking cuddly enough to hug as he slips into the icy water. And the Walrus mother and cub who brings to the documentary its first real touching moment as we quietly watch her tuck her baby under her flipper and nuzzle it’s little face to hers. A memorable moment within a string of perhaps too many disconnected ones that finally draws the audience to an audible “awww.” Now that’s the Disney we’re accustomed to.
As the film draws to a conclusion, and attempts to power home it’s conservation messages with a somewhat lone image of a shopping cart on the ocean’s floor and a glossed over view of our precious water babies tangled in man-made nets, it never quite succeeds in sending the viewer running to its nearest government office petition in hand, or for that matter, checkbook.
What Disneynature Oceans does deliver is absolutely fantastic hi-definition cinematography and never-before-seen imagery of the wonderful world we’ll never truly know. And as it wraps up, coming to cinematic full circle, we must remember that at the end of the day, it shouldn’t take a bleeding baby cub for us to take an active role in our world’s conservation. It should merely take a moment of recognizing the tiny cog we are in the world’s giant wheel, and the responsibility we have in keeping that wheel well oiled.
Mission accomplished.
DVD Bonus features include:
“Make a Wave” music video featuring Joe Jonas & Demi Lovato, “Disney & Nature: Preserving the World We Share”, the viewers look into the current Walt Disney World conservation projects, and “Deeper in the Ocean”, taking a deeper look at the filmmakers, locations and animal that make up Disneynature Oceans.

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