CATEGORIES Reviews, Cheat Sheet


Let's not suffer any illusions -- Disneynature's latest venture, 'Oceans', has a target market, and it's children. We see ocean creatures at their cutest, there are plenty of shots of baby animals cuddling with each other, and newly-hatched turtles are filmed as they scamper towards the sea. But there is plenty of eye candy and information in this film for adults, too.

Appropriately released on Earth Day, 'Oceans' has an important lesson for each of us, no matter what our age. The incredibly stark image of a seal attempting to swim around a submerged grocery cart, and then subsequently getting inundated with a swirling mass of underwater litter was enough to make this writer turn away. The bottom line is we take our oceans for granted, and their sheer size (over 70 percent of the Earth is water) makes it easier for us to say, "Oh well, plenty more where that came from." This line of thought needs to change.

'Oceans' is not all doom and gloom, though. In fact, the movie succeeds most when it focuses on what we have in our oceans, and why we'd be a foolish species to let it all die off because of our own selfishness.

Let's not suffer any illusions -- Disneynature's latest venture, 'Oceans', has a target market, and it's children. We see ocean creatures at their cutest, there are plenty of shots of baby animals cuddling with each other, and newly-hatched turtles are filmed as they scamper towards the sea. But there is plenty of eye candy and information in this film for adults, too.

Appropriately released on Earth Day, 'Oceans' has an important lesson for each of us, no matter what our age. The incredibly stark image of a seal attempting to swim around a submerged grocery cart, and then subsequently getting inundated with a swirling mass of underwater litter was enough to make this writer turn away. The bottom line is we take our oceans for granted, and their sheer size (over 70 percent of the Earth is water) makes it easier for us to say, "Oh well, plenty more where that came from." This line of thought needs to change.

'Oceans' is not all doom and gloom, though. In fact, the movie succeeds most when it focuses on what we have in our oceans, and why we'd be a foolish species to let it all die off because of our own selfishness. There are so many weird, exotic animals featured in this movie it's difficult to document them all, but here are a few:

The Dugong
And you thought the manatee was the only sea cow! 'Oceans' has a short clip with this underwater bovine as it hoovers up plants from the seabed with its vacuum-like mouth. Like most manatees, the dugong in the movie has many scars on its back from passing boat motors -- yet another form of damage that humans cause.

The Narwhal
Referred to as 'the unicorn of the sea', the narwhal lives year-round in the Arctic, and is actually a toothed whale. And instead of it being a horn, that long bone sticking out of its head is a tusk, not unlike a walrus'. Who knew?

The Garden Eel
This tiny little thing is almost cute, but then you remember it's an eel. But worry not, friends. The snake-like creature is reportedly petrified of humans, and will dart back into its hole as soon as we come near.

Many more bizarre-yet-gorgeous organisms emerge from the depths, but I don't want to ruin the film for you. Narrated by 'Bond' star Pierce Brosnan, whose soothing voice cascades over the film like a soft, gentle wave, taking things at a slow, leisurely pace. Brosnan is an outspoken environmentalist, active in promoting ocean conservation efforts. He has lent his support to the International Fund for Animal Welfare's 'Save the Whales Again!' campaign, as well as working with environmental organizations including Sea Shepherd, California Coastal Protection Network, Ocean Futures Society, just to name a few.



Using both digital video and 35mm film, the filmmakers shot 469 hours and 35 minutes of footage, and they only ended up using less than one third of one percent of the available footage. Shot in every single ocean on Earth, the making of 'Oceans' from conception to release took seven years to complete, including four years of shooting. The labour was well worth it, as the result is almost dizzying in its scope.

If you're accompanying children, you will not be bored. Disney's footage is astounding -- from the shot of a rocket taking off reflected in an iguana's eye to the mind-boggling clip of a cuttlefish -- and beautiful to behold. 'Oceans' is both an engaging lesson and a wonderful voyage into a world we hardly ever get to visit.

3.5 stars out of 4.