23 April 2009

Commentary: Disney Nature's Oceans

I just watched this trailer for Disney's forthcoming sequel to this year's Earth, released yesterday: Oceans, to be released Earth Day, 2010; and all I have to think is, Why why why is Disney bent on marketing this natural documentary, "to honor [...] the wild creatures of planet Earth," as a heart-stopping, action-packed revelation of a blockbuster?? I mean, it even has a rapid heart's beating sound as the percussive section of its score.

Why am I so befuddled? (1) The film is a nature film, which indeed may have its active points but is totally misrepresented by cultural cues, like the shrill crescendo the begins over the (above) words "You haven't even scratched the surface," upon which its trailer relies. Cues like those read like the marketing of a sci-fi/horror film, which this film clearly is not. (2) "You haven't even scratched the surface?!" What? I'm sorry, but forgiving the anesthesia of the populus to nature in general, aren't we filmmakers irresponsibly completely shrifting the entire history of the genre that has preceded this film and even covered the exact same phenomena (e. g., BBC's Blue Planet series [2001], Jean Painlevé's Science is Fiction films [1960s], Disney's own A True-Life Adventure series [1960s] that we even mentioned earlier in the trailer!) by cavalierly tagging this sequel with that line? (3) Isn't the reputation of the Earth better served by not artificially grafting onto it the pretenses of constant wonder and awe-inspiring action? I mean, let the Earth be what it is. It's totally not appropriate to try to goad reaction in support of an idea, brand, or cause by making it out to be one fraction of what it actually is. In the end, such deception only leads to crestfallen expectations and diminished interests. Why must we see the short-term at the exclusion of the long-term? (because we all know that these films are destined to end up in the discount bin at Costco in a few years.) Wouldn't it be better to be respectable and thereby more enduring? Wouldn't it be better to have the message of the film be straightforward and not awkwardly subverted and/or diametrically diminished by the shady tone of its trailer? Where is the fidelity to the truth, Disney? Where is the documentary in this?

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