Film Review: Oceans

I watched this film at the Centre Culturel de Saint Martin, in French, so I didn’t understand all the narration, but I don’t think it mattered much. In fact, it was probably for the best because I was able to see the longer European version of the film. The film contains astounding underwater footage from around the world, created by the men who did Winged Migration and Microcosmos.

The camera work is amazing, and I would love to know more about their techniques. It seems that natural light is used frequently, and additional lighting is subtle, often coming from above or from the side. As a result, I found the colors surprisingly subdued. Aside from shallow footage of squid and jellyfish, there are very few warm colors in the film, even in tropical scenes where they would have been present if more artificial lighting was used. Overall, though, I think the trade-off was worthwhile. The feel of the movie is distinct and enveloping.

Even if you have seen similar footage, the quality of their shots is still thrilling. The sardine run off South Africa is particularly stunning, with large bait balls of sardine being eaten by dolphins, sharks, whales and hundreds of birds descending from above. Scenes like that of a mother walrus cradling her calf are wonderfully emotional. The four years of work that went into making this movie was well spent. Even if you think you’ve seen it all before, you’ll want to see it all again.

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