Outside of the human view of life on planet Earth, there's no explanation of why things occur as they do in nature. That's not only because there's little other sentient activity among the lower species, but also because most are instinctually caught up in what "The Lion King" referred to as "the circle of life."
Perhaps it's fitting then, that there's little explanation or cohesive thought in the documentary "Deep Blue." An often visually stunning and even hypnotic look at life that exists off of dry land, the film is also incredibly empty, at least when viewed in terms of what a real documentary usually delivers.
While there's some occasional voice-over narration by Pierce "Don't Call Me Bond" Brosnan -- who replaces Michael Gambon from the film's original soundtrack -- we don't learn much about the vast oceans and the abundant life that dwells beneath their surfaces. That is, except for what we discern visually. And that basically boils down to there being an amazing array of life on this little planet of ours and that the unfortunate species down the food chain often get eaten.
As directed by Andy Byatt and Alastair Fothergill, we get to see killer whales tossing sea lion pups like rag dolls, and later wearing down and eventually eating a baby whale (show the kids! see the natural mayhem!), as well as non-predatory moments that are sometimes fun and/or astonishing to behold. Yet, it's like the Cliff's Notes version for the style over substance generation.
Beyond what little narration is present being stiff in nature, all of the footage seem random, with no common linking element tying it together other than it all concerns sea life. If you're not going to educate viewers, at least tell us some sort of storytelling narrative to keep us interested. Without that, the film became -- at least for yours truly -- an interesting but frustrating experience.
While I appreciated the visuals and the work of the photography crew in capturing the often amazing footage, the overall effort -- without any meaningful context -- made me drowsy. Thus, I was hypnotized and felt myself slipping into a daze watching the array of sand crabs race across the beach and a swarm of fish resemble an underwater tornado.
And to add insult to injury, the film drops the out of place but not entirely unexpected environmental/ecological warning statement at the very end. While I happen to agree with its message, it feels nothing short of manipulative and tacked on, especially since none of it -- in that sparse narration -- is present beforehand.
Then there are the annoying and obviously artificial sound effects (particularly the sci-fi ones representing those weird, deep-sea critters that live in complete darkness) that compete with the overdone score for forcing viewers to stick their fingers in their ears.
More suited for being cut up and shown in a museum setting -- sans any sound -- than as a feature length documentary, "Deep Blue" is visually impressive, but leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of explanation or education.