This is a shockingly awful 'documentary'....what the viewer sees is almost beyond belief.
Plot in a nutshell: Underwater photographers reveal various aspects of sea life, with a healthy dose of human interference.
Why is this shockingly awful? "The Sea Around Us" is not a documentary in any modern sense of the word. If by 'documentary', you imagine film-makers immersing themselves into nature and documenting what they see, you'll be very surprised by this film; because what you get here instead is mankind inserting himself into the sea, and more importantly the film, usually to the detriment of the sea life around him.
Rather than being called "The Sea Around Us," a more accurate title would be "Man's Clueless Exploitation of the Sea." I don't think you can really have 'spoilers' for a documentary, so I'm not going to check that box, and really, what I'm about to say here SHOULD be known by anyone who thinks s/he might be interested in this 'nature' film.
Imagine seeing a diver spearing a barracuda. Then the diver spearing a moray eel. Then the diver stabbing a small shark in its belly with a knife when it comes too close. This is in fact the film-maker's idea of a documentary, it seems - namely, 'Go deep-sea diving, and kill everything that crosses your path.' Anyone who enjoys nature and wants to learn more about it will likely be flabbergasted, horrified and stunned when watching this film, as I was.
The carnage doesn't stop there. The viewer also sees an example of deep-sea trawler fishing, where the fishermen scoop up everything they can in a huge net, and whatever they don't want - 'bycatch' - simply dies in the process. We witness sponges being collected by men off the sea floor, and see salmon on their way to their breeding grounds instead being caught by fishermen positioned in strategic places along a river (what a river scene is doing in a film about the sea, well, don't ask me). We also see sharks being captured for display in aquariums and hermit crabs being trapped and captured, I assume destined for pet shops everywhere. The film is capped off - believe it or not - by a whale hunt, as the viewer watches a whale get harpooned and then mercilessly stabbed to death by the hunters. The narrator then unbelievably labels the dying whale a 'monster' not once, not twice, but three times. Never mind that the whale shown here was of no threat to humans. This film - or more accurately, this utter piece of trash - is an absolute horror fest for anyone who loves nature and finds beauty within it. 'Abysmal' is a pretty fair description for this mess.
The fact that "The Sea Around Us" won an Academy Award for Best Documentary seems to be some sort of cruel joke. It speaks volumes about the stupidity of mankind and what it deemed as acceptable and good, just a few decades ago. Famous conservationist Rachel Carson's name was used to promote this film, but after seeing the finished product, she angrily distanced herself from it, and never sold the filming rights to any of her work again. Seeing this travesty of a film, that should come as no surprise.
1/10. This is valuable only in showing the viewer what was deemed normal in 1950s America. It should serve as Exhibit A for "What to avoid when making a documentary." Would I watch again (Y/N): Hell no!
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