By Troy Ribeiro
Film: "Blue Planet II: One Ocean and The Deep"; Executive Producer: James Honeyborne; Cast: David Attenborough; Rating: ****1/2
Narrated by the ace British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, this BBC produced documentary -- "Blue Planet II" is a gem that reveals the splendour of the universe - the dynamic and complex life in the ocean. His narrative begins with a warning, "the health of the ocean is under threat".
Made up of two parts; One Ocean and The Deep, this film is a follow-up of the 2001's ground breaking series. It is one of the most engrossing documentaries that mesmerises its viewers with the mysteries of "Life beneath the waves".
One ocean takes us on a journey from the warm waters of the tropics to our planet's frozen poles. From the playful surfing of the bottlenose dolphins, to the precision of the tusk fish in cracking a clam, to the intelligence of the trevally in intercepting the birds from the reef, to the breaching of the humpback whales after a well-earned meal of plankton, to the survival pattern of the walruses and bears in the Antarctica and the coral reefs in the tropics, the film reveals the extraordinary never-seen-before marine and animal behaviour.
The Deep takes us to the harshest and the most hostile zones of the ocean. Classified as the twilight zone and midnight zone, the film introduces us to the eternal life-forms in the darkest reaches of the Arctic Sea. In the Twilight zone, we see the sword-fish, the cock-eyed squid, the Humboldt squid, the barrel-eye fish - a fish with a transparent head so that it can look up through its head and the lantern fish. And in the Midnight zone -- down there beyond the darkness -- the living organisms are more like alien creatures.
Here we are first introduced to; the fang tooth fish - the most ferocious fish in this the zone, a fish that has been sitting on the ocean floor for so long that its fins have turned into feet, the flapjack octopus, spider crabs, rock crabs, zombie worms, sponge, lobsters, cut throat eel and many more living beings like the jelly fish and the delicate sea cucumbers.
What is interesting is the revelations, the intimacy and personality quirks of individual animals. The symbiotic relationship between organisms is heart-rending especially something that could be as traumatizing as seeing the blood from a sperm whale carcass being ripped apart by sharks and how the carcass will feed the seafloor critters for decades.
Filmed over four years with sophisticated equipment, the film is visually tantalizing. With the most complex and dynamic footage that nearly appear to be computer generated images of an alien world accompanied by Hans Zimmer's soulful score the film extracts visceral reactions from its viewers.
Overall, the film creates an awe and interest while revealing the ocean in all its majesty.