“„Oceans‟ allows the audience to be a part of marine life—to share all the emotions
engendered by the exploration of the last great wild expanse: wonder, fear, calm, tenderness,
violence, vitality, power. We took the time to allow the animals to invite us in.
We waited to become a fish among fish.”
~ Jacques Cluzaud, Director
Disneynature, the studio that presented the record-breaking film ―Earth,‖ brings
―Oceans‖ to the big screen on Earth Day, 2010. Nearly three-quarters of the Earth‘s
surface is covered by water and ―Oceans‖ boldly chronicles the mysteries that lie beneath. Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud dive deep into the very waters that sustain all of mankind—exploring the harsh reality and the amazing creatures that live within. Featuring spectacular never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies, ―Oceans‖ offers an unprecedented look beneath the sea.
―Oceans‖ puts audiences in the very heart of the action, racing along amid a school of travelling tuna, leaping with dolphins and swimming shoulder-to-fin with the great white shark. ―Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have given us the pleasure of looking over their shoulders and doing what I have only dreamed of being able to do,‖ says Dr. Sylvia Earle, Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. ―Watching this film, I felt as if I were in a school of fish, that I was a dolphin or a whale, swimming along with them. It takes me places I‘ve always wanted to go. This is beyond art. This captures the spirit, the very essence of the sea.‖
Narrated by actor and active environmentalist Pierce Brosnan (―The Ghost
Writer,‖ ―Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,‖ ―Mamma Mia!‖),
―Oceans‖ also shines a light on the many threats, both natural and manmade, facing the
oceans and their populations. The magic and the wonder of life at sea will be unveiled when ―Oceans‖ opens on April 22, 2010, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
―Oceans‖ is the second film from Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from Walt Disney Studios in more than 60 years. Disneynature brings the world‘s top nature filmmakers together to share a wide variety of wildlife subjects and stories with theatrical audiences. ―Earth,‖ the label‘s first release, broke records for both
opening weekend and single-day box office for a nature documentary.
The label carries on the work begun by Walt Disney, himself a pioneer in wildlife filmmaking who produced 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1949 and 1960, including ―Seal Island‖ (1949), ―Beaver Valley‖ (1950), ―The Living Desert‖ (1953) ?and ―Jungle Cat‖ (1958) and earning the studio eight Academy Awards.
Rated G by the MPAA, ―Oceans‖ is a film by Jacques Perrin and Jacques
Cluzaud, produced by Jacques Perrin and Nicolas Mauvernay. Executive producer is Jake Eberts and Disneynature executive producers are Don Hahn (―Earth,‖ ―The Lion
King,‖ ―Beauty and the Beast‖) and Kirk Wise (―Beauty and the Beast‖). The English-
language narration was written by Michael Katims.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
ASTONISHING FOOTAGE REVEALS THE OCEAN AS NEVER BEFORE
An Unknown World Surfaces During a Seven-Year Voyage
“The secrets of the ocean have always fascinated explorers. Man first ventured into the sea gradually, unaware of its infinite richness and diversity. Over the centuries, there have been
so many discoveries, but the sea is still an immense and wild territory.”
~ Jacques Perrin, Director
Seven years ago, directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud embarked on a daring undersea venture. Their idea was simple, but seemingly impossible to realize: they would use their cameras to place audiences alongside the rare and magnificent creatures of the sea.
The result is ―Oceans,‖ an epic journey around the globe that stars the fauna of
the aquatic world in their element, from the notoriously shy humpback whales nursing their calves to the coral that lines the ocean floor and provides haven for some of the world‘s most elusive creatures. Traversing all five of the Earth‘s oceans over a period of four years, the filmmakers chronicled the exotic and the familiar in ways that will forever change viewers‘ perceptions of the underwater world.
―The secrets of the ocean have always fascinated explorers,‖ says Perrin. ―Man first ventured into the sea gradually, unaware of its infinite richness and diversity. Over the centuries, there have been so many discoveries, but the sea is still an immense and wild territory.‖
More than 50 years ago, Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle first brought the diversity and vulnerability of the ocean to the world‘s attention with the pioneering documentary ―Le Monde du silence.‖ With ―Oceans,‖ Perrin and Cluzaud go further than
ever before to provide the most comprehensive look at marine life to date.
―In both of the films Jacques and I have made together, our goal was to experience the remaining wild parts of our planet,‖ says Perrin. ―We accompanied the birds flying above manmade borders, continental landscapes and oceanic spans in ‗Winged Migration.‘ In ‗Oceans,‘ we were able to do what no filmmaker or scientist had ever before done—to move on and under the sea at the speed of the marine life that crisscrosses the world‘s oceans, and experience life from their perspective.‖
―‗Oceans‘ is not an attempt to simply explain behavior or give information,‖ adds Cluzaud. ―We wanted to arouse strong feelings in the audience, so we asked ourselves
where we could go in order to find something ‗new.‘ There was only one answer: in all
possible directions. From accompanying marine life in its travels to finding new ways of lighting up the oceanic night, we broke down the boundaries that separated us from the animals being filmed and transformed each one into an individual.
―‘Oceans‘ allows the audience to be a part of marine life,‖ continues Cluzaud, ―to
share all the emotions engendered by the exploration of the last great wild expanse: wonder, fear, calm, tenderness, violence, vitality, power and much more. We took the time to allow the animals to invite us in. We waited to become a fish among fish.‖
This revolutionary approach and the dynamic nature of the subject matter required a complete rethinking of conventional moviemaking, says producer Nicolas
Mauvernay. ―How could we predict what we would be able to see? How could we set a
pre-defined schedule that would encompass the storms we would search for in the four corners of the globe? We had all accepted that this would be a journey into the unknown, and that this film would lead us to a revelation. We came away with a renewed view and a new way of listening to the mysteries of the world.‖
With input from experts from the Census of Marine Life, as well as fishermen, tanker captains, whale hunters, environmentalists, deep-sea divers, marine biologists and others, the pair brainstormed dozens of scenarios and made meticulous plans to capture as much of the emotional life of the sea as they possibly could.
―We depended upon people who spend their daily lives in the ocean,‖ says Cluzaud. ―They shared with us how they feel when they are deep in the ocean and we
wrote an outline that incorporated all these emotions. We sought out certain species and behaviors that we knew would evoke these emotions and chose our locations with that in mind.‖
The filmmakers devoted two full years to the preproduction process. That was followed by four years of shooting, with 75 excursions to dozens of the planet‘s most untouched spots. It took nearly another year of postproduction to winnow down the 480 hours of footage.
After seven years in the making, ―Oceans‖ premiered in France in 2009 and almost immediately became one of the top-grossing nature films in the country‘s history.
―We were surprised most of all by the enthusiasm from young children,‖ says Perrin. ―They especially responded to the film‘s positive message that anything is possible if the right measures are taken in a timely way.‖
For ―Oceans‘‖ North American debut, Perrin and Cluzaud have worked with Disneynature to fine-tune their film for a U.S. audience. ―Disney has an illustrious history
as a leader in the field of nature films,‖ says Perrin. ―We want to sensitize people to the necessity of protecting our oceans.‖
According to Disneynature executive producer Don Hahn, the essential spirit of the film remains the same, with minimal adjustments for language and culture. ―I came in and helped them craft the film for our audience, but the passion is theirs,‖ says Hahn, ?an Oscar-nominated producer whose credits include such Disney animated features as ―Beauty and the Beast‖ and ―The Lion King.‖ ―Every detail and scientific fact has been discussed and discussed. They didn‘t set out to create entertainment, although it is certainly that. They have presented the world with the truth about the state of the ocean today and how much it has changed in just one generation.‖
Actor and environmentalist Pierce Brosnan was called on to narrate the English-language version. ―I read the script as if I were telling my sons a story of how beautiful the ocean is to me,‖ says Brosnan, who found many extraordinary moments in the film.
―There are so many to choose from in this feast of a movie—from the crabs off of
Melbourne Bay gathering by the thousands to the feeding frenzy of birds and whales, dolphins and seals, to the magnificent stillness of a man and a great white shark, side by side as they swim along in complete harmony.‖
The scope and power of the visuals in ―Oceans‖ set the film apart from any that have come before it. ―Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have created a film that takes full advantage of the big screen,‖ says Hahn. ―There‘s a poetry to their filmmaking. They use gorgeous cinematography to put you right there with the animals. It‘s experiential; it‘s like going on a travel journey.
―Much like in ‗Earth,‘ we‘re taking people to a place they can‘t normally go,‖ Hahn continues. ―And we‘re taking them in grand style with the help of the best nature filmmakers around. Be prepared to see things you‘ve never seen before. There are
creatures so odd they could have been created by the art department on ‗Star Trek‘—
but they‘re really out there.‖
Working alongside Hahn, also as Disneynature executive producer, was Kirk Wise, the director of ―Beauty and the Beast‖ and ―The Hunchback of Notre Dame,‖ among other animated films. ―Oceans‖ is his first foray into the world of nature, but he points out that storytelling is at the heart of all filmmaking, whether it‘s actors in front of a camera, characters created with pencils and pixels, or animals in the wild. ―Even though the animals in this film don‘t talk, sing or wear pants, the stories of their lives are just as compelling as anything an animator could create. Actually, I take that back—
humpback whales both talk and sing. But I‘m reasonably sure they don‘t wear pants.
―It‘s a truly epic film,‖ Wise continues. ―The directors put their cameras in places I‘ve never seen attempted before. They‘ve captured the speed, beauty and awe-
inspiring scale of these creatures in such a way that demands to be seen on the big screen. It also makes you stop and think about our relationship with the ocean, and how we can be better stewards of this irreplaceable resource.‖
By revealing the true nature of ocean creatures in their natural surroundings, ―Oceans‖ reminds viewers of the diversity and exuberance of life on the planet we call
home. ―At the beginning of the film, a child asks, ‗What is the ocean?‘‖ Cluzaud says. ―In an attempt to answer that question, we have opened the doors of a fantastic and magical tale. We explore the marvels of the coral reefs, the heroism of dolphins and the graceful dance of the humpback whale. We also see the damage mankind has done to the ocean and its creatures. And we witness the incredible spectacle of the sea unleashed in a titanic storm.
―But for me, the look of the baby elephant seal in the final image before the
credits roll says everything,‖ he adds. ―It returns us to ourselves and our own responsibility. It is very emotional, both to people already aware of the ocean as well as those who feel very disconnected from it.‖
Says Brosnan: ―I hope ‗Oceans‘ will become a family favorite for many years to come and that, maybe, just a few or many, will be inspired to do good things…for our planet.‖
A GLOBAL AQUATIC ADVENTURE FINDS BOUNDLESS LIFE AT SEA
Diversity Survives in the World’s Unspoiled Sanctuaries
For four years, ―Oceans‘‖ camera crews lived beside the creatures of the sea