5.04.2010

Oceans / Disneynature : 4 of 5

I think it's so great that Disney is once again regularly releasing nature films in the spirit of the original True Life Adventures. I really enjoyed Earth last year, and this year's Oceans is just as spectacular (maybe even better!). Although most reviewers have been disappointed at the lack of educational information in the film, I really don't think that's the point. What Oceans succeeds at is conveying the sheer wonder and magic of life, and the undersea world is definitely filled with sights that constantly seem new and alien. The camerawork is absolutely stunning, brimming with incredible creatures and environments. If fact, sometimes the look of the film is so surreal that I couldn't help but think I was looking at CG animation (which I certainly wasn't!). Just as impressive is the sound, which is obviously for the most part added during some kind of aquatic foley process, so you can hear every single bubble pop and scrape of a crab's leg across the briny bottom. The music is also fantastic, using a classical score that often accentuates an intense moment into an exhilarating experience (such as a huge feeding frenzy in a school of sardines by birds, dolphins, sharks and whales), or lulls the listener into a serene peace (as thousands of jellyfish glide by). Pierce Brosnan does a fine job as the narrator, although nothing he says is earth-shattering (and sometimes a little trite), meaning for me the long stretches devoid of voice were the most powerful moments of the film. And as a certified sharkophobe, I'm happy to say there is only one brutal sequence (involving some unlucky seals) that made me hide my eyes! On the contrary, the incredible sight of a diver swimming in tandem with a Great White was so shocking that I couldn't look away. Oceans is a magnificent film and a wonderful addition to the Disneynature series, and I'm looking forward to the next release (African Cats) on Earth Day 2011!