Planet Ocean (Blu-ray)

April 11, 2013 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I know I’m not the first to say it, but when you look around at this world of ours it really is a miracle we’re alive.  I won’t turn this into a theological discussion, but I’ll just say that I don’t think God snapped his fingers and six days later we had Earth.  That’s the critic in me and also my logic working overtime.  It just doesn’t add up.  What I do know is that through the beauty of HDTV, we’re enabled to see some of the most uniquely beautiful things this world has to offer.  And, let’s face it, not all (or any) of us will probably have the time and/or money to go out and see some of the things that are showcased in films like these.  So if things like Life and Planet Earth are up your alley, then so too willPlanet Ocean.  It’s narrated by Josh Duhamel from Transformers fame (though when I heard his voice I just kept thinking of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!), who does his best to sound empathetic.

Looking at Planet Ocean as a whole, it’s not exactly ground-breaking material here, especially if you’ve seen some of the aforementioned titles like Life and Planet Earth.  That’s not to take anything away from this documentary, it is pretty fascinating and it does have its own particular slant on things.  I actually did learn a few things, like how important Plankton are to life in general and the part they’ve played in our time here on Earth.  This isn’t some ten hour, ten part series that tries to cover every facet of life, rather it’s a statement on us, where we’ve been and where we could be going if we continue to treat the Earth as we have.  To quote the back of the box “…the film aims to explain some of the planet’s greatest natural mysteries, while reinforcing how essential it is that mankind learns to live in harmony with our oceans…”  And that, in a nutshell, is what the film is about.  I’ll do my good deed for the day and will point you to Good Planet – a very informative site.

Video: How does it look?

Planet Ocean is the best of both worlds, er…the best of our world, how about that?  Presented in a 1.78:1 AVC HD image this is the sort of program you’d expect to see playing at Best Buy or some other store that will utterly showcase how beautiful Blu-ray can be.  Now having said that, this transfer is a bit on the inconsistent side as well.  While we’ve got some great sweeping views of the ocean, waves crashing on cliffs and the like, there are also some rather lackluster (particularly underwater shots) that look dirty and grainy.  Granted I took into consideration that they were in the ocean and not on a Hollywood sound stage  but I’ve seen some better examples of this type of imagery in other documentaries, so I know it can look better.  On the whole, it’s stunning.

Audio: How does it sound?

Juxtaposed with the video, the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is rather robust.  Certainly the only dialogue that we hear is that of actor Josh Duhamel as we can hear each syllable in full, uncompressed glory as he tries his absolute best to sound concerned about the material he’s presenting.  And maybe he is, I don’t know if he’s some sort of activist or not.  As I mentioned, we’ve got some waves crashing, the sounds of the ocean and about everything in between.  The surrounds are active, the LFE do get some air time and by and large, it’s a very good-sounding track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

We get a trio of featurettes “Making Planet Ocean in the Skies Above Rio”, “Underwater” and “Shanghai.”

Disc Scores