Disney's 'Oceans' shows our connection to the sea


POSTED: Monday, May 03, 2010

The ocean is vast, soothing and powerful all at once—feeding our bodies as well as our souls.

Disneynature's film “;Oceans,”; released on Earth Day, last Thursday, reminds us of our connection to this vast body of water covering nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface.

Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud took great care weaving together a film showing the interconnectedness between the living creatures of the sea to one another and to humans.

It took them four years traveling to every corner of the planet (using the latest underwater technology) to capture these images—from a ballet of dolphins leaping and spinning, to the close-up, massive backside of a blue whale, an image so detailed you feel like you could reach out and touch it.

The team portrays the humor and playfulness of sea mammals, from the inquisitive look on a turtle's face, for instance, to the indolence of a sea lion lolling on the beach.

You feel a kinship with these mammals when you witness a mama walrus—big and wrinkled—cradling and playing with her baby in her flippers.

They also go deep down to capture bottom-dwellers and creatures of the night.

The diversity of ocean life is amazing (more than 80 species are showcased in the film). A manta ray swims so gracefully you might confuse ocean with sky because it looks like it's flying. The exquisite, blanket octopus resembles a silk scarf in movement, while the Spanish dancer does a flamenco as it cuts across the water.





Disney|nature: Oceans



A rockfish with a big gull of a mouth can sit stock-still and then snatch prey within a millisecond.

The movie portrays the reality of nature as “;red in tooth and claw.”; The dolphins go after schools of mackerel, in choreography with sea birds that dive-bomb after them as well, while a shark crashes the party with a giant leap out of the water.

Baby turtles hatching from the sand make a mad scramble toward the ocean for survival, though most are swallowed en route by sea birds.

In the ocean, you're either eating or being eaten alive. You also endure the risk of getting entangled in drift nets put out by humans to catch fish.

Living in Hawaii, it's hard to ignore our connection to the ocean, given that we are surrounded by it, eat from it and play in it.

Unfortunately, the team did not make it to the Northwest Hawaiian islands to portray the plight of Laysan albatrosses, their stomachs filled with plastic.

Several times, the camera pans out to space, showing satellite imagery of the earth, with the narrative drawing connections between the ocean and the universe. The moon, after all, influences the tides.

A more alarming image shows pollution runoff from rivers, flowing into the oceans like poisoned veins. Ironically, on Earth Day an oil rig sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, spilling an average of 200,000 gallons a day.

Disney's film, aside from its amazing footage of wild sea life, has a serious message to get across: “;Every breath we take, and every drop we drink, depends on the health of the oceans.”;

The ocean's greatest threat? Human indifference.

Nina Wu writes a column about environmental issues on the first Monday of every month. E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).