Oceans (2009)

Genres - Nature  |   Sub-Genres - Animals, Natural Environments  |   Release Date - Apr 22, 2010 (USA)  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - Switzerland , Spain , France , Netherlands , United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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A worldwide success, Disneynature's documentary Earth took audiences on an intimate guided tour through some of the wild's most inaccessible areas. Directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (who collaborated previously for 2001's Winged Migration), Oceans offers a similarly unprecedented look at the vast underwater realm that provides shelter to some of the planet's most beloved, as well as least understood, creatures.

Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, Oceans is made up of a compilation of underwater photography from over 75 diving expeditions that took place over a period of four years, and captures an astoundingly intimate glimpse into the lives of a wide array of sea life -- ranging from the marine iguanas of the Galápagos Islands to Arctic seals, humpback whales, jellyfish, vast schools of sardines, and creatures so alien it's difficult at times to believe the footage wasn't made with the help of computers or a green screen.

Though Oceans hardly ignores the reality of predatory survival -- one particularly riveting scene involves the mass annihilation of a beach full of baby sea turtles -- the deaths are quick, relatively bloodless, and natural. In sharp contrast, the interference of man in matters of the ocean is significantly more disturbing; the catching and subsequent bludgeoning of a whale is a far more brutal death than those doled out by the sea's native hunters.

While perhaps not as stunning as Blue Planet or OceanWorld 3D, Oceans is nevertheless a visual masterpiece -- enough so that it makes up for a lack of the kind of narrative found in many popular nature documentaries (such as March of the Penguins, Earth, and even Animal Planet's award-winning television series Meerkat Manor). Though there are scenes of tenderness and emotion, Oceans has the feel of a NOVA or National Geographic special more than it does a cuddly think piece. However, the straightforward tone speaks to the almost incomprehensible size of the planet's waters, adding levity to the film's overall message of conservation, and helping to stress the importance of expanding our knowledge of the ocean rather than exploiting it for personal gain.