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Deep Sea

Warner Bros. // G // March 27, 2007
List Price: $27.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted March 19, 2007 | E-mail the Author
In a world of fabricated beauty amidst art, computer generation, and cinematic splendor, Deep Sea surfaces as a sparkling reminder of the natural beauty that floats beneath the crashing waves. Rather than tackling an encyclopedic dialogue, this trip into the depths of the vast waters of Mother Earth harnesses children and adults alike. Pair an adaptable narrative with a superb score and fantastic commentary from two highly charismatic stars, and Deep Sea works as a wholly enjoyable visual feast.

The Experience:

Howard Hall's aquatic journey delves into the spectacular watery kingdom that spans across the globe. Many different locations are featured that range from the Bahamas and Mexico to Hawaii and California. Just as the locations vary, so do the organisms featured. There's a bit for every aquatic lover within this film, including everything from fish and mammals with fins to slippery creatures with tentacles and shells. It'll also include a few new faces that might be unknown to viewers, young and old.

Shot in 70mm IMAX, Deep Sea is an incredibly gorgeous mosaic of marine life. Every possible color underneath the crashing waves is captures vividly by the Halls and their team. Crisp reds and pinks, looming purples and yellows, and naturally vivid blues all crash through the depths onto the screen. Time is spent during the film just to follow and monitor the movement of the organisms. While watching a large bottom-dwelling organism methodically and gradually stalking its prey might come across as a bit on the tedious side, Deep Sea makes the experience beautiful.

This is a feature that'll appeal to the whole family. Too much predatorial and reproductive content would shy away the younger audience. Keeping the content moderately surface level and simply explained without dwelling extensively on the aforementioned topics makes the Deep Sea experience something that just about anyone can enjoy. Instead of an extensive representation of each organism's habits and such, this IMAX experience relies on extracting scenes spread across the entire ocean floor and pouring them into one 41-minute melting pot. With the help of strong supporting aural elements, it accomplishes this with polish and panache.

What would Deep Sea be without audio commentary? Finding Neverland co-stars Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet lend their voice talent to this aquatic adventure. Certainly, the respective stars of Pirates of the Caribbean and Titanic have an ensnaring natural appeal to audiences of all ages with some aquatic interest. Interestingly, Depp and Winslet don't really come across as typical "narrators". They're more like knowledgeable, witty sidekicks who travel with the viewer to the depths. Since the content isn't tremendously deep, the magnetic nature of these two stars really makes the dialogue a load of fun and pleasantly informative.

Most memorable in the audio department, however, is the masterful score crafted by Danny Elfman. He brings his signature style to the audio presentation whole-heartedly and without much reservation. It's quite obvious once the soundtrack floats up that it's typical Elfman. Whimsical and hauntingly beautiful, his natural talent to create beauty from unusual tones and instrumental cocktails meshes phenomenally with a film about the mystical aquatic depths.

Deep Sea swirls all these fantastic elements together into a gorgeous production ripe with striking visuals and an entrancing audio presentation. Although the information isn't phenomenally deep, the film does feature some unique and interesting quips about the featured marine life. Even with the potency of this film certainly dwindling when lowered to a smaller screen and sans 3-dimensional effects, it still works quite well as a fun voyage into the depth of the great blue mystery.

The DVD:

Deep Sea is presented from Warner Bros. in a standard keepcase DVD. Here's a cool treat from WB; a slipcover is included during this first pressing with a cool lenticular cover featuring moving marine life.

The Video:

Deep Sea is presented in both Widescreen and Fullscreen presentations, proving to be quite versatile for all tastes with this single DVD. This is a presentation clearly crafted to be displayed upon a very large screen with 3-Dimensional elements. However, even though it undoubtedly doesn't carry the weight that the film would upon an IMAX screen, Deep Sea still looks great. Most easily showcased are the vivid colors that flood the display from scene to scene. Each color and detail is ravishingly splayed upon the surface in an acute exhibition of shades. Since the IMAX experience cannot be translated perfectly to the home theater, the presentation suffers a little bit. Though the sharpness and detail is undoubtedly there, edge enhancement and digital grain within some darker scenes surface here and there. Still, blemishes and all, the image presentation is still quite striking and immensely enjoyable to behold.

The Audio:

With an audio commentary from two major stars and a fantastic score, it'd be hard pressed to mess up the audio presentation. As such, Deep Sea's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio sounds fantastic. Very sharp sound effects tear through the speakers. Sounds of crunches, swiping water, and other various marine sounds bubble through just fine. Depp and Winslet both sound clear and audible for the majority of the run time, each trading off predominant tones sporatically. Furthermore, Elfman's score was marvelous. Pairing his signature style with the mysteries of the deep was a novel idea. The surround channels are used quite well, especially with the musical accompaniment. While the majority of sound effects originate in the center speaker, the side channels are utilized effectively as well. Heightening the quality of this disc is the available audio and subtitle options. Whether an English track with subtitles or other language tracks are desired, Deep Sea provides well. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, and Korean, while 5.1 audio options are available in the same languages, though not including the voice talent of Depp and Winslet.

The Extras:

Extras aren't included with this disc, except for a Theatrical Trailer. This is probably a strategic move so the video quality and numerous audio options can be included for a diverse crowd. However, a link to the IMAX Deep Sea website leads one to discover an array of quality supplements, including production notes, a few Behind the Scenes photographs, and educational development materials.


Final Thoughts:

As a general documentary on aquatic life, Deep Sea is undoubtedly recommended. The material is easily accessible for marine aficionados and rookies alike. If this material comes across as commonplace, then the visual presentation and aural treatment make for a pleasurable watch. This aesthetic presentation alone makes the disc recommended as well. It's not a perfect visual treat, but the audio masks the rough spots here and there for a quality presentation. However, as an easily accessible film that'll appeal to a diverse age group, Deep Sea is highly recommended. It'll charm kids and grip adults as well.

Overall, due to the diverse appeal of the disc, Deep Sea comes Highly Recommended.

Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site
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Highly Recommended

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