Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 5 out of 5
Deep Blue (2004)
PGContains mild natural predatory animal violence

You won't find Nemo but you will meet most of his relatives in Deep Blue, a feature-length selection of highlights from the BBC documentary series The Blue Planet. Taking us from God's-eye-views of the sparkling surface to the darkest depths, this ocean odyssey conveys a riveting sense of nature's infinite variety. Backed by a colourful orchestral score performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, it features narration by Michael Gambon, sporadically used to let viewers immerse themselves in the stunning imagery.

Mind you, the Harry Potter actor's mellow tones do help to set the mood. "This is a world of constant jeopardy," he warns us early on, and you'd better believe it. One vignette turns from sweet to savage when a group of sea-lion pups wander off from mum to find themselves tossed around like bath toys by a killer whale. A little later, there's suspense to match the horror as sharks go hunting by cold moonlight on the coral reef. Even the coral themselves go at it, their bizarre biochemical warfare reminding us that the fight for territory isn't limited to our finned friends.

"DEEP BLUE OFFERS A FANTASTIC VOYAGE"

Things get even more exotic when we're taken to the deepest reaches of the sea, where we lose the sun but encounter some truly freakish fish whose bodies pulse with neon light like the roof of a Vegas casino. After this splendid spectacle, the film's closing return to the surface can't help but seem a bit anti-climactic. There's little doubt, though, that Deep Blue offers a fantastic voyage, even to those who dived into The Blue Planet on TV. While the original series supplied a more comprehensive science lesson, the chance to gorge the grandeur on the big screen isn't to be missed. And as far as films combining eco-awareness with awesome visuals go, this beats The Day After Tomorrow hands down.

End Credits

Director: Alastair Fothergill, Andy Byatt, Martha Holmes

Writer: Alastair Fothergill, Andy Byatt

Stars: Michael Gambon

Genre: Documentary

Length: 90 minutes

Cinema: 18 June 2004

Country: UK/Germany

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