Oceans. Cold, dark, menacing beasts; powerful and unforgiving; unpredictable and dangerous.
In one sentence, I summed up how I feel personally about the ocean. At the same time, the mystery of it is enticing, drawing me in to any type of program that brings me some new knowledge of the creatures that live in the ocean or some confirmation that my feelings about the ocean are accurate. I cringe as the waves crash over the bow of the Cornelia Marie on Deadliest Catch, but marvel as I watch programming on NatGeo that show us the tiniest of God’s creatures. In the end, I am in awe of the beauty and the power of the Ocean, but still put off by the cold, dark nature of the beast.
The one thing Disneynature’s Oceans does NOT do that their spectacular Earth did is bring me closer, bring me feelings of warmth, bring tears of emotion. In Earth, we are intimately up close to the animal families that they highlight, as we watch the playful polar bear cubs find their footing in the ice and snow, then suffer the devastation along with their father, who has traveled miles in vain to find food for himself and his new family of cubs. We scream at the screen, begging the photographer to throw the poor thing a Snickers bar, a Starbucks scone, the sound man – anything so he doesn’t suffer the fate he ultimately faces.
In Oceans, we don’t get the up close and personal connection with the ocean or any of her creatures. We see the unfortunate fate of some sardines with whom we have no bond; and we witness the demise of a few tiny sea turtles who are trying to make their way back to the ocean to begin a new life. What we miss in this movie is the mother sea turtle, heavy with eggs, laboring away to create the perfect nest in which to trust the delicate babies until they hatch. We don’t see her forlorn journey back to the sea, leaving behind a piece of herself, knowing she will never know the children she must leave for Mother Nature to care for.
We do see a brief moment of sentimentality as a walrus shoves it’s baby under the water, then joins the baby as she cuddles him to her. But really, that is the only play to human emotion in the film.
It may be that the film makers want us to keep a distance – an emphasis to the dark and mysterious ocean that they are allowing us a peek at. The photography is, as you would expect, magnificent. There is no doubt that you may see things from a perspective you’ve never seen them, and get glimpses at creatures you have no knowledge of.
But I had hoped to feel the love that I felt for the animals in Earth. I wanted tears streaming down my face, causing me to reach deeply into my pockets to do something for oceanic conservation. I didn’t get it. The ocean is still scary, still menacing, and there wasn’t much effort put into making it more warm, fuzzy and approachable.