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'Oceans' a spectacular sight

by Tyler Wilson
| April 30, 2010 9:00 PM

The idea of paying to see a nature documentary at a movie theater certainly seems like an activity for children, retirees and people who don't work for a living. The BBC series "Planet Earth" and networks like Animal Planet offer comparable programs in the living room, so why switch out of your pajamas?

"Oceans," the second theatrical release distributed by Disneynature, is worth every extra penny to see on the big screen. The cinematography is far more breathtaking than anything created by James Cameron or Steven Spielberg, including a real great white shark that's as big as ol' Bruce in "Jaws."

Audiences can expect to be wowed by a variety of strange (and gigantic) creatures. Scenes include: A massive blue whale (a.k.a. the largest creature on earth) swallowing an enormous mouthful of fish, a flock of birds divebombing for a snack amidst a feeding frenzy that includes dolphins, sharks and whales (oh my!), and a group of adorable baby sea turtles trying desperately to make it to open water as they are picked off by the stars of "The Birds."

These colorful animals have all been filmed before, but none of it compares to the footage compiled by "Oceans" directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. The filmmakers spent more than $60 million dollars across a span of four years to capture many of the movie's seemingly-impossible sequences. The nerds over at the Internet Movie Database are already arguing about scenes that MUST have been aided by computer-generated effects.

Visual trickery or not, the images will give audiences a whole new perspective of life under the sea. It's a real shame Pierce Brosnan narrates the film like a solemn lullaby. At least it sounds better than his singing voice in "Mamma Mia!"

Don't expect to learn too much about the animals onscreen, either. Brosnan only occasionally mentions creature names, and the legal department at Disney obviously wanted this G-rated entry to be vague about the whole climate change issue. Their message boils down to: Don't throw garbage in the water.

For that reason, marine enthusiasts who already know about the animals will get the most out of the "Oceans" experience, as they can bask in the satisfaction of being smarter than the kids in the theater shouting, "What's that?"

The main attraction, though, is how "Oceans" jumps into waters most people would be too afraid to visit in real life. But I don't care what the movie says. Swimming alongside a humungous great white shark is stupid thing to do.

Grade: B+

Bonus Recommendation! Take the ocean experience home with you with "Endless Ocean: Blue World" for the Nintendo Wii. The diving game allows players to visit the farthest reaches of world's oceans and swim alongside manta rays, whale sharks, tropical fish and deadly electric eels. It's more of a relaxing, explorative experience than a traditional "game," and priced at less than $30, it's an affordable and fun way to learn more about oceanic life.

Ticket Stubs is sponsored by the Hayden Cinema Six Theater. Tyler Wilson can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com. Read more film reviews and pop culture commentaries at www.NormdogEntertainment.com.

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