Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
An ecological drama/documentary, filmed throughout the globe. Part thriller, part meditation on the vanishing wonders of the sub-aquatic world.
For more about Oceans and the Oceans Blu-ray release, see Oceans Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 12, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Narrator: Pierce Brosnan
Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud
» See full cast & crew
Oceans Blu-ray Review
Jacques Perrin's stirring documentary emerges from the sea with a spectacular Blu-ray release...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 12, 2010
Four out of every five breaths a human being takes originates in the depths of the ocean. Think about that for a moment, because I have to say, if man's foremost driving force -- his own self-interest -- can't spare this planet from a frightening future, nothing can. Gazing across the sea and marveling at its wonders won't save anyone. Relishing the smell of salt in the air and falling asleep to the sound of waves surging along the coastline won't prevent the next manmade ecological disaster. Introducing your children to the ocean won't inspire global change. Or can it? Oceans, directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud's stirring French nature documentary, dares to suggest otherwise. As the film opens, a group of children approach a stormy shore and narrator Pierce Brosnan whispers, "a boy comes running up and asks, what exactly is the ocean? What is the sea? You could hit him with a lot of statistics and Latin names, but the answer isn't something you'll find in a book. To really know what the ocean is, you have to see it for yourself. You have to hear it and taste it. You have to feel its power. To really know the ocean, you have to live it." Perrin and Cluzaud pose an alternative theory: avoiding the frightening future mankind seems intent on forging requires an intimate connection with the waters that supply the air we breathe. Cynicism, as the filmmakers rightfully identify it, is a fool's indulgence, and Oceans, forging a delicate balance between wondrous sights and rapturous sounds, exhilarating undersea photography and carefully constructed cautionary storytelling, embraces an oft-forgotten truth.
Rather than pelt those willing to listen with a steady stream of scientific facts and alarming statistics (both of which are more en vogue than ever), Perrin and Cluzaud paint their canvas with broader strokes. Little context is given and Brosnan's narration is sparse and romanticized. Some species appear and disappear from the screen without a single mention and the intricacies of their behaviors are left to the imagination. (Or the supplemental package's Picture-in-Picture "Filmmakers Annotations" track as it were.) True to Brosnan's opening declaration, Oceans takes its audience on a whirlwind tour of the seas, exploring grand underwater vistas and tracking countless creatures from hunt to hunt. It isn't just about any one animal, any one species or, really, the ocean's wildlife alone. It's about the ocean itself, teeming with life, sure, but also pulsing with a life all its own. Waves crash and currents lull. Tides rise and violent storms ravage the surface. Fish swirl in a breathtaking ballet, steel ships split chaotic seas and plants sway in the torrent of an underwater breeze. Innumerable krill become a pink blanket of fog primed for a hungry blue whale, beasts of the deep stalk their prey with startling precision, tiny creatures flee impossible odds and jaw-dropping visuals lurk around every tower of coral and mound of submersed earth. More an enthralling experience than a traditional nature documentary, Oceans aims to engage far more than a viewer's intellect and, time and time again, hones in on the exact emotional responses Perrin and Cluzaud are actively targeting.
And yet, surprisingly, it doesn't feel manipulative, nor does it pander to nature enthusiasts. Even when Perrin and Cluzaud turn their attention to pollution, fishing industry practices and mankind's blatant disregard for the well-being of the seas, they do so with sobering humility. They don't step onto a soapbox or drag out a pulpit, they simply point their cameras and shoot, capturing the sad realities that continue to infect the ocean at an unsettling rate. If anything, Oceans strives to convert younger viewers, curious newcomers and any apathetic stragglers to a worthwhile cause. Hardly the sort of fear-mongering that hardens hearts. As it stands, I can't imagine watching Oceans again without feeling the same intense emotions I felt the first time around. An exuberant, multi-species sardine feast left me grinning from ear to ear. Birds plunge into the sea like bunker-busting missiles, dolphins dart in and out of the madness, sharks join the festivities and whales lurch through the feeding frenzy, using their enormous size to reap the most reward. Other shots sent chills racing down my arms. A tornado of fish spiral in tight formation before transforming, inexplicably and astonishingly, into a near-perfect sphere; mobular rays glide effortlessly from catch to catch and a crimson-stained blanket octopus hovers beneath a passing boat; a killer whale snatches a seal in its jaws, leaving the helpless creature with little to do but nip at its captors mouth; legions of crabs face off on a bustling field of battle and a starfish tiptoes along the ocean floor; a mantis shrimp delivers fierce blows to an invader, sure to amaze young and old alike; a battleship is thrust into the air, only to come crashing down again, before surviving a wave that dwarfs the CG-born showstopper in A Perfect Storm; a massive jellyfish drifts by and a great white shark casually swims alongside a diver without giving the man a second thought.
And then there's Bruno Coulais' irreplaceable score. Dolphins leap and fall as Coulais' soaring strings tumble. Airy flute flourishes, soft teeter-tottering chords and haunting piano melodies grant a moonlit seascape an ethereal quality more akin to a Disney animated feature than a Disneynature documentary. A Spanish Dancer slug rises with crescendo of an oboe-led orchestra. The brazen baritones and grim tenors of a Russian choir turn three ships into brave behemoths facing the full fury of nature's wrath. Rising trumpets, descending trombones and the rum-tum-tum of war drums make a clash of crabs as much an aural spectacle as it is a visual one. Through it all -- score, photography, storytelling, message, momentum and vision -- Oceans emerges as one of the most cinematic nature documentaries I've had the pleasure of watching. It isn't for everyone. Some academics will bemoan its relative lack of scientific minutia, some families will find it a bit slow for their tastes and some casual viewers may wonder what all the fuss is about. But Oceans genuinely moved me, held my son in breathless anticipation of what would come next and thrilled, entertained and subdued my entire family. If it were brimming with classical music, I'd call it the Fantasia of nature documentaries (not that Coulais' music is far off). If it included the additional fifteen or twenty minutes cut from its original French release, I might even call it indispensable. Oceans deserves attention and praise, and its Blu-ray release -- dazzling AV presentation in tow -- should attract just that.
Oceans Blu-ray, Video Quality
Overflowing with exquisite, unequivocally breathtaking high definition photography, Oceans was already a feast for the eyes. On Blu-ray, it's even more magnificent. Rising from the dark depths of the sea with an exceedingly filmic, utterly captivating 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer, Perrin and Cluzaud's sweeping documentary boasts a disarming palette, gorgeous fine textures and a wonderfully proficient presentation worthy of serious praise. Colors, though subject to the intensity of the sun and the transparency of the planet's waters, are lifelike and natural, and primaries are refreshingly tempered yet wholly engrossing. This is the ocean as it appears, not as overzealous color-timing and paint-by-numbers nature documentaries would have us believe. Even so, the filmmakers have gone to great lengths to make many of their most problematic shots look spectacular. Murky, dirty and polluted waters aren't uncommon in Oceans, but the photography continues to impress nonetheless. And while perceived contrast inconsistencies and a few brief bursts of increased noise are unfortunate side effects, the transfer itself doesn't falter. The smallest scales on a fleeing fish, the tiniest proteins floating within a microscopic organism, a cloud of tail-flicking krill surrounding a weathered blue whale, the stones and corral littering every sea bed, the rough skin of a great white, the soft leaves of underwater plants, the bristling defensive measures employed by deep sea prey, the dangling tentacles of dozens of jelly fish... all clearer, more sharply defined and more perfectly resolved than I thought possible. Moreover, the film's restrained, ever-present grain field is intact and the faithfulness of Disney's encode is nothing short of remarkable.
As it stands, the only three gripes brewing in my brain amount to a trio of easy-to-overlook nitpicks. Banding, while faint and fleeting, is apparent from time to time (although I had to actively scan the backgrounds to notice any), the slightest bit of ringing affects a handful of shots (the worst of which curses a lighthouse with thick halos) and the aforementioned grain occasionally suffers from a digitized sheen. Again though, I probably made all of that sound much worse than it actually is. Make no mistake, Disney's transfer is as amazing as Oceans itself. The presentation isn't 100% perfect, but it looks phenomenal.
Oceans Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Oceans roars onto Blu-ray with an absorbing, chill-inducing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track; one that revels in the daunting power of every crashing wave, surges with the soaring strings of Bruno Coulais' score, and ebbs and flows with every skitter and splash that graces Perrin and and Cluzaud's undersea soundscape. While Pierce Brosnan's soulful, storybook narration remains crisp, clean, clear and smartly centered throughout, it by no means dominates the proceedings. Oceans is a documentary of incredible sounds and mesmerizing music, all of which erupts from every direction and floods the stage with conviction. Low-end output is bold and earthy, lending the full weight of the LFE channel to every surfacing whale, terrifying tide, storm-ravaged ship, raging storm and crushing current the filmmakers commit to film. Likewise, the rear speakers make their presence known from the outset, submersing the listener in the wonders of the ocean. Jelly fish realistically glide across the soundfield, crooning whale song fills the room, an army of crabs creep along the floor, distant thunder ripples from channel to channel, Coulais' orchestration billows brilliantly and a multi-species feeding frenzy becomes just that: an enveloping frenzy. Moreover, dynamics, pans, separation, directionality... it all combines to create an arresting experience. In fact, the entire track is more immersive, more overwhelming than any lossless documentary mix I've reviewed. No oddities, no issues, no shortcomings, no disappointments whatsoever. Enjoy.
Oceans Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Oceans washes ashore with a relatively generous supplemental package (let's be honest, nature documentaries aren't typically packed to the gills with special features). First up is a thorough, much appreciated Picture-in-Picture "Filmmakers Annotations" track with director Jacques Perrin, co-director Jacques Cluzaud and other key members of the production team. It delivers a string of thoughtful interviews, a generous helping of revealing behind-the-scenes footage (mainly of the crew capturing some truly amazing underwater shots), worthwhile trivia about the many sea creatures and exotic locales featured in the film, on-screen maps and other useful information. There are a few gaps, but for the most part, it enriches the entire experience. A "Living Menu" also allows users to access up to a dozen "hotspots" on an interactive globe (according to the disc's guide, the hotspots are updated via BD-Live on a regular basis). Once selected, each one either offers a small tidbit about the region or a short video about its inhabitants. From there, "Disney and Nature: Caring for the World We Share" (HD, 8 minutes) provides a brief overview of Disney's support of various conservation projects, Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato appear in a music video for their duet, "Make a Wave" (HD, 2 minutes), and a fantastic trailer for the next Disneynature theatrical release, African Cats (HD, 2 minutes), rounds out the special features.
Oceans Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Oceans may not be a traditional nature documentary, but it is a poignant, cinematic alternative that captures the majesty and magnificence of Earth's vast undersea kingdoms. Disney's Blu-ray beaut is just as extraordinary, and well worth its asking price. Its video transfer is exceptional, faithful and filmic to its filmmakers' every intention; its DTS-HD Master Audio track is a sonic marvel, polished to perfection; and its supplemental package, though rather modest, features an extensive Picture-in-Picture track. No matter how you look at it, the Blu-ray edition of Oceans is a must-own release.
Blu-ray bundles with Oceans (1 bundle)
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Oceans. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Oceans in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Oceans Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Disneynature’s Oceans and Crimson Wing on Blu-ray - June 11, 2010
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has announced the release of two documentaries for Blu-ray release within its Disneynature label: Oceans and The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos. Both will be available as Blu-ray/DVD combo packs on October 19. For ...
Oceans Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Oceans Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Oceans Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.