Disney should be given a lot of credit for starting to offer films like "Oceans", which is part of the new DisneyNature production arm (4 more films are currently listed as being planned for release under the DisneyNature banner.) Given the studio's worldwide reach, it's thrilling to see that they are providing a new generation of young viewers with programming that is both exciting and richly educational. "Earth" is another film in the production series, as is "Crimson Wings".
"Oceans" (which was released on Earth day) is a fascinating look into the deep blue seas of the world, helmed by directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzau, whose work will be familiar to those who saw the immensely popular "Winged Migration". "Oceans" is a far more traditional nature documentary, along the lines of an IMAX doc, only feature-length. The picture peers into oceans around the globe, starting with a view of a marine iguana slipping through the seas like some sort of little prehistoric monster. Shortly after, a group of these lizards sit on a rock as a shuttle launch takes place in the background, watching the skies all together like some sort of reptilian "Meerkat Manor".
Elsewhere, birds hit the water with an almost reckless abandon as they search for swarms of slivery fish, all swimming together in one big, swirling metallic wave. A small crab carefully tiptoes past a herd of sea lions lazily getting some sun, trying to not become a meal for the creatures. A large stone fish waddles its way through the water, coming to a halt on the sea floor in order to blend into the environment and wait for prey. A group of razorfish appear to be standing straight up, and dance across the ocean floor like some sort of ballet performance. The film is not heavy on information on each of the creatures, but provides interesting factoids and, overall, provides a nice balance between entertainment and education.
Pierce Brosnan does an expert job providing narration, although the narration itself has a tendency to fall into the category of predictable, new age-y and familiar to these sorts of films, but Brosnan's relatively low-key reading at least does not carry the narration into the realm of melodramatic. Technically, the picture is stunning: filmed in high-def, the images are not only expertly captured as the camera glides through the water and over land, but utterly, magnificently crystal clear on Blu-Ray.
The Blu-Ray edition offers both a Blu-Ray and DVD edition of the film.
VIDEO: "Oceans" is presented on Blu-ray in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) and the result is an absolutely reference quality presentation. Sharpness and detail are stunning: small details on the various animals are seen with the kind of glassy, precise detail that shows what the format is capable of. Small object detail - even grains of sand - are shown with a three-dimensional look and feel that's dazzling. Aside from a couple of minor instances of edge enhancement, the picture remained free and clear of any sort of concerns. Colors seemed pure and life-like throughout the presentation, with not a bit of smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 5.1 presentation doesn't provide an aggressive audio presentation, but surrounds are put to use on occasion for light ambience and score. Audio quality was fine, with crisp, clear dialogue and well-recorded animal sounds.
EXTRAS: "Deeper in the Ocean" bonus videos, "Disney and Nature" featurette, "Make a Wave" music video and filmmaker annotations.
Final Thoughts: "Oceans" remains an entertaining and visually stunning nature documentary, and the Blu-Ray presentation offers reference quality video and terrific audio. Recommended.
The Film B+