Coming to a classroom near you.
Synopsis: WONDERS OF THE SEA 3D takes viewers on a trip under the ocean, capturing incredible footage of rarely seen sea creatures, while warning about the impacts of climate change. From Fiji to the Bahamas, Jean Michel Cousteau and his children Celine and Fabien embark on a voyage to discover the ocean as never before seen, and learn more about the threats that put our ocean at risk. (Pacific Northwest Pictures)
Starring: Jean Michel Cousteau, Celine Cousteau, and Fabien Cousteau
Directors: Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jean-Jacques Mantello
Rating: G (Canada/United States)
Running Time: 82mins
The sea is definitely full of wonders and this new documentary, coincidentally named Wonders of the Sea 3D shows us exactly why. In terms of nature documentaries, there may not be that many in 3D (full disclosure: I watched a 2D screener of the film so I cannot fully speak to its 3D), so the 3D aspects to this film do help it to stand out but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough in this case. While the film clearly cares about its subject matter, its muddled messaging gets in the way of its intended impact. Though there were quite a few beautiful shots of various marine life, capturing them in rather incredible situations.
Beyond those incredible shots, the film doesn’t offer much else of substance as the material behind these shots was dull and confusing at best, often feeling like two different documentaries at the same time. On one side, Jaques Cousteau’s son Jean Michel took his children Celine and Fabien on a journey to Fiji, the coast of California, the gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas to document parts of the ocean like never before with the three of them narrating along the way all while the other side saw Arnold Schwarzenegger randomly narrating at other times.
These multiple voices and perspectives only made the film a little confusing to follow as the film felt convoluted to the point of never knowing what it was truly about or what was going on. Instead of focusing on the sea creatures that the Cousteau’s were trying to document, the film felt more about them which was much less interesting and more on the dull side to the point of tuning out the commentary is was making on the state of our oceans. As a result, the Schwarzenegger narration was meaningless. Ultimately, the film would be better served choosing one or the other.
Overall, Wonders of the Sea 3D was a beautifully shot documentary that clearly cared about its worthy subject matter but besides the incredible moments it managed to capture, its convoluted story and muddled messaging, featuring too many narrators, only lessened its impact. Diehard ocean fans may find plenty to enjoy here in what is a relatively short film but most would be better served waiting for a home release as it doesn’t do quite enough to justify it being a theatrical release.