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DVD Review: Wild Ocean

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The “Interview with the Directors” special feature of the DVD release of Wild Ocean is a bit of a cruel taunt. Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, directors of Wild Ocean are also the creators of Stomp, the incredibly innovative performance band. Coming from them, one would anticipate a unique, even eccentric film, one that pulses through the eyes, ears, and body. Yet, a viewing of the Wild Ocean DVD had revealed yet another cinematically pretty, earnest exploration of today’s oceans set to African rhythms – picturesque and enjoyable, but hardly shattering.

The second revelation of the directors’ interview reveals a possible reason for the banality of the DVD. Wild Ocean was originally released, not only on IMAX, but in 3-D. What is merely scenic on the living-room television was likely stunning under its original conditions.

As documentaries go, Wild Ocean falls at the high end of mid-range. Good visuals, again, probably stunning in the IMAX format, pleasant narration and soundtrack, and an informative look at marine ecosystems and the dependence of human populations on a sustainable ocean. However, none of the information presented comes as revelatory to anyone who has picked up a newspaper or visited a major aquarium in the past ten years.

Our oceans are indeed in danger – overfishing, particularly of mid-range predator species, and current changes due to rising ocean temperatures and sea levels have seriously disrupted many marine ecosystems. Wild Ocean is yet another competent argument for the foundation of marine preserves and the implementation of sustainable harvesting from the earth’s oceans.

The remaining special features on the DVD included further scenes and music, and a text-based trivia game. In all, the Wild Ocean DVD left me wishing I had seen the IMAX original. The 3-D would have been worthwhile for the scenes of the penguins darting among the sardines alone; who knew penguins could swim that fast!

Wild Ocean released on DVD and Blu-ray January 26, 2010.

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