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“Secret Ocean” Reveals The Big World Of The Very Small

by | Sep 26, 2016

Western Washington is known for being all wet. The ports are a vital part of our economy. And yet, the world of the oceans is often ignored. Four times as many people have set foot on the moon as have been to the deepest part of the ocean. To paraphrase a Seinfeld comment, “What do you want to go underwater for?” We may watch Finding Nemo, but do we really pay attention to what occurs in that not so far off world?

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D is here to address those areas. If you need someone to explain aquatic matters, it benefits you to have the Cousteaus (in this case, the son) take you on an adventure. Also, adding even more credibility, the documentary is narrated by a scientist from National Geographic.

Despite Cousteau’s fame and his family’s legacy, the movie never lets any humans take center stage. They know that the ocean is what folks are here to see. After brief introductions are made, the camera goes underwater and does not surface until the end. The crew knows they have plenty of ground (ocean?) to cover.

Did you know that plants produce most of the oxygen that we breathe? Were you aware that there actually is a purpose for all the wild adornments and colors on a lionfish? Did you know that massive groups of squid lay millions of eggs on the ocean floor?

There is plenty to learn from this movie. The strength of Cousteau’s movie lies in the explanations. They put an animal or plant on screen (often resulting in small children near you reaching for the 3D creature). Then they take the time to explain many of them. The bulk of the movie dives deeper than most by giving reasons behind the strange appearances. Several times the viewer finds themselves thinking, “Oh, that’s why they look so weird. Well it makes sense now.”

A suggestion: after your family has watched Finding Dory, take them to see this documentary. From manta rays to clownfish to octopus, a surprising number of characters from those Pixar movies make appearances in this documentary. Kids may already know that clownfish live in sea anemones. Now, by watching Secret Ocean, they can learn that clownfish have a special ability that makes that living situation possible. This movie, especially when paired with those cartoons, makes it easy for kids to care and learn about a world they do not experience every day. (Yes, there are sharks on screen. However, there are scientists swimming right alongside them. There are no feeding frenzies to scare off the youngsters.)

We humans, land-bound as we tend to be, often have a hard time relating to sea creatures that we never see. We name water-based life forms after animals we are used to (see: catfish, dogfish, tiger sharks, sea horses), or everyday objects (see: clownfish, hammerhead shark, arrow crab). Cousteau aids us by allowing us to comprehend the ocean world better; one animal at a time. With not only our region, but also our planet, changing every day; what better time to educate ourselves?