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Friday, April 30, 2010

At the movies: Oceans (Disney)

We don't often see movies while they're still playing in the theatres, but thanks to a friend who had a free admission coupon, Eldest and I joined her to see the Disney movie, Oceans.  You can see trailers for it here.

It was an interesting experience.

Visually, the movie was fantastic.  Not as impressive as The Blue Planet, but still really great.  Unfortunately, they only included images from near the surface of the oceans - mostly the Sunlight zone, but a few Twilight Zone creatures, if they happened to be in the Sunlight zone.  It would have been great to see creatures from the deeper zones, but I guess there was only so much they could include.

The soundtrack was well done.  There were parts with just natural ocean sounds plus the soundtrack that Eldest says actually brought a tear to her eye, they worked so well together.  I particularly liked the soaring choral voices near the end.

Then there was the narration. 

The movie was narrated by Pierce Brosnan, and I have to admit, we were a bit taken aback when we saw his name.  We'd tried to watch another movie he'd narrated, Deep Blue.  It was truly horrible, and we actually had to stop watching it.  I think we gave up shortly after we got to the part with

"The ocean is deep...

(insert 5 minutes of crashing waves)

... and blue."

I was really disappointed to find out that was written by one of our favorites, David Attenborough.

Oceans, on the other hand, was written by seven people, according to IMDB.  Maybe it was a case of too many cooks spoiling to soup, but it really sucked.

The movie starts with a bunch of kids running over a dune towards the beach.  The cameras focus on one young boy, staring off into the distance.  It ends with the same boy, still staring off into the distance.  I wish I could better remember what exactly was said during these scenes, but it was really quite trite.  The movie could have stood on its own without the kids.

There are a couple of examples I remember well enough to quote to show just how bad the writing was.  At one point, they move to the Arctic. 

"If dragons really existed," Pierce Brosnan intones, "here's where you would find the narwhal...


unicorn of the sea."

Wait.  What???  What does that even mean?

Then there was the part where they were showing the Asian Sheep's Head fish.  At one point, there is reference to "this mask of wisdom."

"Mask of wisdom?"  Really? 

This is one of the Asian Sheep's Heads featured in the movie.

That is one freaky looking fish.  I love that face!! *L*  But "wisdom" is not the word that comes to mind when I look at this.

There were lots of fantastic scenes in the movie.  The ocean floor seething with spider crabs.  Incredible jellies, and whales.  Beautiful.

The movie did, of course, have its preachy moments.  While the narration started talking about the "melting Arctic" it showed scenes of waves breaking apart thin, surface ice.  One would have to know a decent amount about Arctic ice to recognise that this sort of temporary ice is constantly being formed and broken up, but the obvious implication is that this was ice melting before our eyes.  As the words "endangered species" were spoken, images switched to polar bears, which are far from endangered.  There were images of seals, crowded together on a piece of ice, red eyes rolling as they plunge into the water.  Dramatic music swells and, together with the narration, it's implied that these are animals desperately fighting over the last chunks of ice.  Never mind that right now, the Arctic ice has been increasing dramatically, that previous ice lows were caused by changes in wind and current due to the PDO shift, etc. 

These moments were thankfully brief.

There were also more real and serious problems highlighted, such as the proliferation of garbage in our oceans, and the horrifying tragedy and destruction of some fishing practices.

As mentioned before, the movie ends with the young boy staring into the distance.  The narration closes off with,

"So instead of asking, "what is the ocean," perhaps we should instead ask, "what are we?" "

Uhm... yeah.  I think they were trying to be all deep or something, there. 

It failed.

All in all, it was a good movie, and I'm glad we saw it.  Visually, it was worth seeing on the big screen.  The soundtrack is beautiful.  The writing was incredibly lame, however, and a few times we just stopped in amazement, asking "they didn't just say that, did they?"

I can live with that. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Nice review! The pictures are very neat!


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