The era of nature documentaries being shown in major mainstream theaters is upon us. First "EARTH", now "OCEANS". I guess in this time of environmental peril, these films are sent as a message, to remind us that our planet...exists.
"Oceans. Remember those? Those are cool."
It's kind of like those commercials for generic commodities like BEEF and MILK. Oh yeahhh...I forgot about those!
"Beef. It's what's for dinner."
"Milk. It does the body good."
"Cheese. It's like milk, but firmer."
"Rice. It goes under your chicken."
"Beans. These are food."
"Flour. You can make other food with it."
OCEANS is directed by Jacques Cluzaud. Did you know Jacques is not actually a name, but the French word for "oceanographer"? Google it. It is narrated by Pierce Brosnan doing an impression of Patrick Stewart doing tons of drugs. Seriously, the narration is so woozy and uninformative I'm pretty sure Pierce just got in the recording booth, smoked a pound of hash, then watched the movie for the first time and recorded whatever loopy lunacy came out of his mouth. You might think people seeing a nature documentary in a multiplex would get impatient with all the education and start demanding some boobs and explosions, but my friends and I actually found ourselves LONGING for some dull marine biology exposition, because Pierce offers us almost nothing in the way of information about all the crazy shit he's showing us on the screen. For example:
We're following a fish through the sea, watching it from behind as it swims about. Pierce is talking about the ocean being a story...that sometimes has surprise twists! Suddenly, TWO FUCKING LEGS pop out of the back end of the fish, paddle for a moment, then slip back inside the fish.
Tell us what the fish is called? Why it has fucking legs? Show it walking?
Nope. Cut to next scene. Moving on.
Same goes for a stunning shot of a diver swimming next to a MONSTROUS jellyfish that's about the size of a minivan.
What's that thing? Why is it so big? What does it do? Is it the biggest jellyfish in the world? Does it eat planets?
Nope. Cut to next scene.
When Pierce does decide to comment on the freaky stuff we're looking at, he does so in cryptic haikus that end with him trailing off into a deep, druggy slumber.
Example: We're looking at the most fucked up fish ever, a thing with a bulbous, wrinkled forehead and a gnarled, protruding chin that makes you think that if this thing isn't called a Popeye fish, we need new scientists. Pierce educates us with the following riddle:
"One sign of the ocean's health is that it is home to such very old fish."
[shot of the fish's crazy face]
"To wear such a mask of wisdom, one must be around a very long tiiiiimmmeeee...snorrrrree..."
Other choice lines:
[shot of the arctic ocean]
"If dragons really existed, here is where you would find the narwhal.....[long pause, so long you think he's finished]..............THE UNICORN OF THE SEA!"
"The blue fin tuna can make some SERIOUS TIME." (I think he means it's fast?)
"As far as the eye can see, north, south, east, west.....the ocean smiles at the sky...."
And the closing line, so deep it must have been dredged up from the Marianas trench:
"Perhaps the question we should ask is not 'what is the ocean'......but rather.....'who are we?"
All that being said, the movie does have some incredible underwater footage, showing some images I have literally never seen before, like a Blue Whale puffed up like a balloon while feeding on krill, and some absolutely alien creatures that were completely new to me, despite me being a pretty gigantic nerd. But it really would have been nice to actually LEARN SOMETHING about these creatures. All I took away from this film, educationally, was that the Great White Shark's fearsome jowls may actually just be a smiiiiilllleeeee...snorrre....