Deep Blue

It all goes swimmingly...

Released in 2003, certified UK-PG. Reviewed on 21 Jun 2004 by Craig Eastman
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Billing itself as "a natural history of the oceans", the wonderfully carefree Deep Blue doesn't so much deliver on this promise as it does a barrage of images detailing both the beauty and the brutality of the woefully under-researched oceans. Essentially a series of natural setpieces linked by the fact the action takes place in and around the world's watery depths, what we are presented with isn't so much the misconception of a documentary (there is a sparse commentary from Michael Gambon; so sparse in fact that he probably got paid more word-for-word than Arnie in Terminator 2) than it is a series of interconnected vignettes designed to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Fortunately for all involved the gamble pays off magnificently and Deep Blue delivers a far greater cinematic experience than any number of so-called summer blockbusters.

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Composed by George Fenton and performed beautifully by the Berlin Philharmonic, the movie's score is as brilliantly evocative as the images onscreen. I might sound like a bit of a foppish dandy here, but the moment where a Killer Whale first breaks the waves and descends upon a hapless seal had me shoved further back in my seat than any horror movie I could name from the past...well, however many years. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Andy Byatt certainly cement their credentials in the field of wildlife photography, as do the camera crews who have worked wonders in capturing a stunning menagerie of images from hordes of crabs on the ocean's shore to the bizarre lightshow of organic neon entities at it's greatest depths. It's obvious from the onset that the capturing of the footage with which we are presented must have been quite the labour of love, and thankfully the cinema screen does it the justice that no television will ever deliver.

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The power of the imagery on show is at times breathtaking; from the swarming shoals of fish to the feeding frenzy of sharks and birds that follows, and the Orca-precipitated dropkicking of a seal several stories in the air it's an onslaught of nature at her best and her most unforgiving. Ultimately there is little that can be said about Deep Blue as it's more of an experience than a movie, meaning it defies classification in the traditional sense. If you can't see past grading something by the number of exploding cars it contains or the profanity count then you might as well go and rent Bad Boys II because you're going to be sorely disappointed. If you want to judge this particular book by it's emotional content rather than it's cover then congratulations; you're in for a whale of a ride.

Oh, and it's the only film this year to feature a Polar Bear wrestling a Beluga Whale. Bonus...

Disko awards Deep Blue 4 out of 5 mad crabs.

Andy Byatt & Alastair Fothergill
Cast list:
Killer Whales (Big Evil B**tards)
Jellyfish (Big Squidgy B**tards)
Sharks (Ultimate B**tards)