DEEP SEA 3D
Filmed in nine locations around North America, this documentary looks at some of the ocean's most unusual creatures: from giant octopi that camouflage themselves in coral, to the barracuda which pay regular visits to an aquatic "spa", to have their skins cleaned by tiny fish. Narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, the film gives special attention to the close relationships between animals, and the effects of shark-killing on the whole ocean floor. However, everything leads up to the magical, annual moment when an entire coral reef spawns, at exactly the same time, and millions of eggs are released into the sea.
Review by Lesley Chow:
Perhaps an aquatic documentary doesn't have to do much to inspire feelings of wonder: just having the camera sit at the sea edge is enough to give us a trippy sense of immersion. But even though this film does provide some conventional thrills, what's surprising is how intimate, and almost shiveringly sensitive, it makes the ocean seem. The entire sea appears to be made up of fine, quivering pulses: the delicate threads of anemones, the movements of responsive young plants and shreds of coral, and especially, the slightest brush against a creature's skin that brings an elaborate defence system into play.
As comic relief, the producers choose the most theatrical and hammiest of creatures - the ones with ungainly movements, great gaping mouths, or eyes on stalks - but the most memorable characters are insidious, such as one slow-moving predator, which injects poison into the body of a sea star, causing it to dissolve.
As usual, Danny Elfman's music gives a sense of harmonious eccentricity: it suggests a clean and efficient ecosystem, which happens to contain wondrous things. I always start off finding his scores repetitive - this gives way to surprise at how many variations he can pull off, and finally, I'm amazed at how such a signature sound can make an individual bond with every image. Thanks to Elfman, even the moving parts of a prawn have a magical co-ordination, like the gestures of an imperious warlord. The scenes where the water turns dark, and manta rays glide through it, are like the night sequence in a ballet, and the most stunning image of all is also the most mysteriously frightening: a giant Humboldt squid, which appears in a series of electric flashes.
This creature is as fascinating as a serial killer: its methods of attack are so personal that one can't help but ascribe motives to it. It's one of those animals seemingly designed for human paranoia: its shocking and sudden appearances are like acts of violence we don't have time to absorb.
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DEEP SEA 3D (G)
NARRATION: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet
PRODUCER: Toni Myers
DIRECTOR: Howard Hall
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Howard Hall
EDITOR: Not credited
MUSIC: Not credited
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Imax
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 6, 2006 (Melbourne)