Okay. Clearly the ocean is awesome because it is filled with monsters. And otters. (And baby otters!) It’s really hard to fuck up the ocean, and it’s pretty much impossible to make visually stunning footage unstunning, which is why Oceans (the newest piece of nature porn from Disneynature, which released an underwhelming Planet Earth retread called Earth in 2008) is a totally okay thing to be around. Because duh. OTTERS.
Animals are weird, scary, funny, and good at their jobs. The best parts of Oceans include: marine iguana (smiley), horseshoe crab (alienz!), blanket octopus (why did no one alert me before?), blue whale’s gullet (swollen), mantis shrimp (gangsta), tiny ships in giant storms (the scariest thing that I have ever seen), baby turtles getting born and getting eaten (well, turtles are extinct now—are you proud of yourselves, frigate birds?). The worst parts of Oceans: the stuff humans did to it.
The problem is that—thanks to frenetic and uncreative editing—the movie reads exactly like that list of cool animals I made above. It’s essentially: Look at this crazy fish! Now look at that crazy fish! Look at this whale! What’s that over there? Fuck, it’s a shrimp! Look at it! Fuuuuuck!!! There’s no narrative through-line, no charming polar bear family to cling to, no genuine attention to science or real information of any kind. It’s just a visual list of cool fish accompanied by a series of dreamy, borderline-nonsensical statements “narrated” by Pierce Brosnan. “To really know the ocean, you have to live it.” Oh, do I? “The larva of a sea urchin is like an asteroid.” Is it, now? “The ocean smiles at the sky.” That doesn’t mean anything! “There is more than sharing going on in the ocean.” OF COURSE THERE IS. “If dragons really do exist, this is where you’ll find the narwhal, unicorn of the sea.” I’m pretty sure that is not even a human sentence. Are you a horseshoe crab? Are you Sarah Palin?
So, Oceans is dumb. But it is fucking gorgeous. Plus, you know. Otters.