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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Oceans

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April 30, 2010

Movie Review Friday: Oceans

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review of 100 or fewer words and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Oceans (2010)

In theaters now


Disneynature's Oceans takes viewers on a visual voyage through rarely seen underwater worlds in which dragons really exist and even 007 would be hard-pressed to survive unscathed (although the film is narrated by Pierce Brosnan).

The footage, taken all over the world, including on the shores of the Galapagos, South Africa, and deep in Alaskan waters, is laced with just the right music to make the film more of a theatrical mystery than a documentary. Scenes of ravenous seagulls and dolphins converging on calm waters to prey on sardines and newborn turtles are harmonized in a predatory song and dance that comes across as awkwardly peaceful.

But despite all the eye-pleasing, perfectly choreographed scenes – they include a Spanish dancer fish flitting through the depths, a colorful clownfish dodging predators by submerging itself in an anemone's poisonous tentacles, and a shark splashing through its feast of hapless sea lion – Oceans actually misses an opportunity to deeply educate about any single animal. There's no truly intimate encounter of any creature; you merely swim by many interesting ocean denizens along your tour of submerged jungles.

The film is aimed at a young audience, so perhaps that's why it touches very little on the pollution that threatens the animals' homes. The only mention of human impact comes at the end, almost as an afterthought, when satellite images reveal polluted streams, portraying them as our planet's veins that feed the oceans. Some poignant shots do reveal the other dangers we cause: a shopping cart rusting at ocean's bottom, and blackened poison forcing fish to migrate to new homes. But because the film takes a softer tone throughout, the scenes of human-caused harm act more as a depressing end to a lighthearted, engaging depiction of ocean life.

--Nicholas Mukhar


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