OceanWorld 3D – 2009
Running Length: 81 minutes
By: Mohannad Al-Jundi
In recent years, documentaries have taken a major step forward, becoming more important and relevant for viewers looking to find real adventures, an eye-opening experience or even much-needed answers, depending on the subject you pick. A documentary film is a cinematic genre that has various types and forms to document anything you might think of onto feature or short films.
Documentaries can also be a tricky thing, especially coming off as uninspired as “Ocean World 3D”, the latest effort by director Jean-Jacques Mantello, following his 3 similar short documentaries: “Ocean Wonderland”, “Sharks 3D” and “Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean”. The usage of the word “world” in the title seems reasonably accurate to depict the fascinating and complex life of the ocean, a universe that has particular firm rules and clockwork wondrous creatures. Unfortunately, since not all of us are intrigued by what is actually happening underwater or deep in the ocean, the movie lacks the narrative energy that is crucial to hold on our attention, or even keep up with the vividness of all this unique aquatic nature. Indeed, it is an unexciting film about an exciting world.
“OceanWorld 3D” opens over the ocean, as couple of baby turtles find their way through the sand. Although one of them struggles to feel the air, the other finally manages to reach the water and drift into the ocean, in which our journey takes place. The turtle, our narrator and main character with the voice of French actress Marion Cotillard, guides us through the animal life with all its different kinds and forms: sharks, fishes, whales, dolphins and all sorts of ocean animals. The movie shows the bright, dark, bizarre and funny sides of living in the ocean; a world that can be enchanting and bloody dangerous at the same time (puts you in awe of God’s exquisite, yet terrifying creatures).
Taking full advantage of the 3D tech; putting us as close as possible to every animal living underwater, the movie contains all the ingredients you might expect in a straightforward ocean documentary: a vast amount of information, detailed facts, and great photography (the single most breathtaking sequence is the one with the “Whale Shark”, the biggest fish of ocean). However, as much colorful as these species are, the movie clearly is not, a group of slow-paced, long overlapping shots and ineffective score. The turtle/narrator dialogue, written by Francois Mantello and Jean-Jacques Mantello, which can be insightful sometimes, is surprisingly tedious, wasting the essence of many great images that we see on the screen and doesn’t really hit any new grounds.
Unless you’re doing a mandatory research paper about the ocean, or you’re a 5-year-old fan of this world, stay away from this film and check out other productions like Planet Earth: Ocean Deep or James Cameron’s Aliens of the Deep instead.