BBC Deep Blue (2004)

You won't find Nemo but you will meet most of his relatives in Deep Blue, a feature-length selection of highlights from the BBC documentary series The Blue Planet. Taking us from God's-eye-views of the sparkling surface to the darkest depths, this ocean odyssey conveys a riveting sense of nature's infinite variety. Backed by a colourful orchestral score performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, it features narration by Michael Gambon, sporadically used to let viewers immerse themselves in the stunning imagery.

Mind you, the Harry Potter actor's mellow tones do help to set the mood. "This is a world of constant jeopardy," he warns us early on, and you'd better believe it. One vignette turns from sweet to savage when a group of sea-lion pups wander off from mum to find themselves tossed around like bath toys by a killer whale. A little later, there's suspense to match the horror as sharks go hunting by cold moonlight on the coral reef. Even the coral themselves go at it, their bizarre biochemical warfare reminding us that the fight for territory isn't limited to our finned friends.
Peter's DVD rating: 0.5 stars
This 90-minute film is not exactly an abridged version of the "Blue Planet" series. The scenes are not exact duplicates from the latter; the images seem much sharper, perhaps due to faster shutter speeds, and the narration is by Gambon, not Attenborough. This would make breathtaking family entertainment in a big screen theater with surround sound, but the educational value is almost non-existent. Gambon often does not bother to even mention the organisms, much less say anything interesting about what we see on the screen. For example, the scene of many predator species in a feeding frenzy has no narration at all other than a short preface about "sea birds"; We have no idea that these are Cape Gannets scavenging on Sardines driven to the surface by other predators. Get the 4-DVD "Blue Planet" if you want to learn anything about the ocean. In any case, I believe this DVD is available only in Region 2 PAL format; I bought my copy in Amsterdam.
4:05 Black-browed Albatross 07:10 Common Dolphin 09:15 Cape Gannets
4:05 Black-browed Albatross
07:10 Common Dolphin
09:15 Cape Gannets
Index Jan 19, 2006 copyleft Peter Chen