Bam ! I’m starting from no. 30 on my 30 Day Film Challenge-list, mainly because it seems harsh to start straight up with your absolute favourite movie (and it got too difficult to choose). And do you remember as a kid, when they would always give out something really cool and awesome alphabetically, and you’d be the next to last one, and they never changed it around? No? Just me then.
Starting off with Océans wasn’t difficult. Not difficult at all. The French documentary from Cluzaud and Perrin, Les Jacques, is visually and emotionally mindblowing. The version released in America got Disneyfied and shortened for a child audience, but the original keeps it’s emotional integrity all the way through the film.
A documentary, or rather an ‘ecological drama’, Océans with a massive budget of 66,000,000$ shows the world’s five oceans from angles and heights you’ve never seen before. At some point growing up I stopped watching nature documentaries, my childhood favourite pastime, and forgot how unbelievable they were. Then I found BBC’s Life series and got back into it, but I was never expecting anything like Océans to hit the big screens. As a visual experience it is quite remarkable, and now in the age of digital effects and enhancing it really became hard to believe that this is actually the planet that we live on.
Realistic, yet dramatic, the movie plays with the concepts of human emotion within the animal kingdom and the seas; conquest, love, brutality, friendship, despair, triumph, loss, enjoyment play a big part of the imagery and dramaticism of the film. With a French voiceover, reciting the deep secrets of our world, it could all get a bit flimsical and cliche, but Océans succeeds in remaining grounded in the beauty and depth of what it is actually showing, without trying to overprice it.
But as with most things, you can’t really feel it until you see the flipside. In this case, the people. The pollution, the food industry. Some of the imagery is terrifying, a de-finned shark diying in a pool of blood, lifeless shapes caught in a net, seals scouring for food beside shopping carts. Océans isn’t informative per se, but it does take a strong stance on what should and what should not be happening. It leans on your emotion to bring it’s point across.
All in all, Océans offers a film experience, rare in it’s kind. It does a bit of preaching, mostly welcome, and avoids naivity. It’s not ment to be a narrative, nor a explicit documentary on the dangers of people’s questionable actions, but an ecological drama, filled with feeling. Subtle, enticing and exquisite, Océans is a must see for all those who appreciate nature’s diversity and visual explosions.
8 / 10
You’ll Like Océans if…
– you secretely wanted to be a marine biologists.
– you’re looking for an overwhelming visual experience.
– sharks are still cool.