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I love a good nature documentary. Nature fascinates me, and the beauty and enormity of it is breathtaking. So whenever I see a new nature documentary has been released, I’m automatically interested. Throw in one of my man crushes, Josh Duhamel as the narrator, and I was very intrigued by Planet Ocean. However, the film falls short of delivering a great movie-going experience due to its narrative, which lacked focus and spread itself too thin.
The film opens up with Duhamel speaking in the first person, though he clearly isn’t talking about himself. No, he’s talking about the ocean, and all of the organisms in it. Then it goes to a twenty minute segment with some great shots that would rival the work of even the best nature documentaries. From there, we transfer to talking about predators, saying that in the ocean, there is always a predator higher then you on the food chain. From there, it is revealed that humans, on the surface, are the ultimate predator, and then the film changes.
Up until this point, I had assumed this was a film about the ocean and it’s incredible life. However, Planet Ocean then takes a drastic turn with its message, going from a purely nature driven documentary, to a message to the general population about the terrible, nature killing things we are doing to the ocean on a daily basis.
Not only do they have Duhamel tell you this, they show it, with several graphic scenes, including one of two fisherman cutting open sea lions on their boat. From here, the movie is undefined and erratic jumping from one point to another without any transition. In one scene, we are enjoying shots of beautiful ocean plant life, then suddenly, we are being shown human waste disasters and how they affect a different part of the ocean. The movie cannot decide if it wants to be a nature documentary, or a mouth piece for all of the voices of those who wish we would treat the ocean better. It’s this confusion of story telling that leads to confusion from the viewer, wondering what kind of movie they are watching.
While the movie claims to discuss the bond between humans and the ocean, it certianly seemed like a propaganda at times to change our ways, and I think the film suffered as a result. By the end, it almost seemed like a chore to finish, as I was tired of being pandered to. Planet Ocean has potential, but ultimately falls short due to lack of focus on the story, and an overall subpar narration by Josh Duhamel.
Planet Ocean is available on Amazon!
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