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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Disneynature: Oceans'
(Pierce Brosnan, Jacques Perrin, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Rie Miyazawa, et al / 2-Disc Blu Ray+DVD / NR / 2010 / Walt Disney)

Overview: Dive into Oceans from Disneynature – The studio that brought you EARTH for a spectacular story about remarkable creatures under the sea. Stunning images await as you journey in to the depths of a wonderland filled with mystery, beauty and power. It’s an unprecedented look at the live s of these elusive deepwater creatures through their own eyes. Incredible state-of-the-art-underwater filmmaking will take your breath away as you migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark and race with dolphins at play. Filled with adventure, comedy and drama, OCEANS is a fascinating and thought-provoking experience you’ll never forget.

Blu ray Verdict: Walt Disney's True-Life Adventure series began with Seal Island, one of many ideas he had that seemed crazy at the time -- a genre of film in which massive amounts of nature footage was edited to tell a story. The series was a long running success, leading to an endless parade of shorts, features and, more than anything else, TV shows featuring animals.

There were also some controversies. Some animal specialists and other critics were not pleased with how these films created an "anthropomorphosis" for the animals, attributing to them thoughts and motivations created through the editing and narration rather than real life events.

However, that was part of the entertainment value of the films, and what made them so memorable. It's to the credit of those who create films either produced or released by Disneynature to acheive a similar quality with a keener eye for nonfiction.

They also have an advantage early nature documentarists never dreamed of -- high-definition photography and fascinating gadgets like remote helicopter-like cameras and deep-sea devices.

These developments and more are put to extremely effective use in Oceans, which offers spectacular footage never before put on film.

In place of the paternal Winston Hibler or the folksy Rex Allen, who did so much of the early Disney nature film narrations, Oceans is told with a combination of awe and matter-of-fact assertion by Pierce Brosnan. Listening to him narrate, I couldn't help wondering how many other commercials and films I had heard with his voice, but not realizing it.

Oceans is a dynamic, but fairly straightforward tour through the seas, showcasing the familiar, the strange and of course, the endangered (Disney Channel pop stars Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas add their "Friends for Change" note with a song over the end credits that is also a music video).

The bonus features examine the filmmaking techniques and also promote the Disney Corporate environmental initiatives, which might seem a bit self-serving to some but is a largely sincere and highly accomplished effort by those involved who are seriously dedicated to these issues. Disney's a big company and it's a business, but it also brings these issues into the mainstream and allows costly research to take place. And it gets films like this into the mainstream, too. [GE] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

“Make A Wave” – Disney’s Friends For Change Music Video Featuring Joe Jonas & Demi Lovato
Disney & Nature: Preserving The World We Share
Deeper In The Ocean – Select Bonus Videos
Living Menus – A Fully Interactive Experience
Filmmaker Annotations
All DVD Bonus Features