Astounding documentary ‘Oceans’ showcases diversity of ocean life

by Bill Wine
Posted 2/19/21

“Oceans” (2010) is an ecological documentary, the English-language version of a French-Spanish-Swiss co-production narrated by Pierce Brosnan, that examines the watery two-thirds of our planet.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Astounding documentary ‘Oceans’ showcases diversity of ocean life

Posted

Each week, veteran film critic Bill Wine will look back at an important film that is worth watching, either for the first time or again.

How deep is the “Oceans” script? Not very, it turns out.  Does it matter?  No.

“Oceans” (2010) is an ecological documentary, the English-language version of a French-Spanish-Swiss co-production narrated by Pierce Brosnan, that examines the watery two-thirds of our planet.

Jacques Perrin and his co-director, Jacques Cluzaud -- who wrote the screenplay with Christophe Cheysson -- are not really trying to teach us things about the ecology and ways in which we can cease and desist plundering our environment that we are not already familiar with, although they won't mind if that is indeed what happens for some, especially young, viewers.

What they're doing is taking us someplace special that we could never get to on our own, an appreciation as much as an exploration of the ocean depths.

The images they have collected and included are absolutely stunning, the results of four years' worth of diving expeditions all over the globe, capturing up-close-and-personal shots of scores of species: fish, whales, squid, dolphins, crabs, lizards, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, slugs, shrimp, tuna, mackerel, eel, and octopi, among many others.  

Our feelings of awe and wonder kick in as soon as the underwater imagery kicks off.  It's downright hypnotic.

Perrin and Cluzaud also collaborated in 2001 on the fabulous and astonishing “Winged Migration.”  What that film did for our appreciation of the migratory habits of birds, “Oceans” does for our fear for the fragility of sea creatures and the ocean blue.

Viewers who appreciated “Earth” will also respond to “Oceans,” which differs in that, although this film is similarly full of eye-popping privileged moments, the voiceover narration by Brosnan, a discussion of the circle of (sea) life aimed primarily at the young, is extensive without being intrusive, letting the spectacular, transfixing images speak pretty much for themselves, much the same approach used in the Oscar-nominated “Winged Migration.”

And as we did while watching the greatest “Earth” on show, we can't help but wonder about just what in the world the mostly-unseen camera operators had to go through and put up with to get all the astounding natural-world shots in their effort to showcase the diversity of ocean life.

Although this G-rated, superficial but spellbinding aquatic nature doc will lose a bit of its allure on the small screen, “Oceans” is modestly muckraking but visually breathtaking.

Bill Wine is an Emmy-winning film critic who served in that capacity for WTXF and KYW Newsradio. He lives in Chestnut Hill.

documentary

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment