Directed by: #MikeJohnson
Written by: Mike Johnson
Starring: #TimTialdo (narrator)
“It can be argued more is known about other planets and star systems than our very own oceans,” Tim Tialdo portentously narrates to the audience, which helps explains the motive behind Mike Johnson’s ambitious, competently researched six-minute documentary, Oceanic Aliens.
This breathtakingly-shot documentary consists of footage of relatively unknown marine species compiled by Johnson’s own personal dives in the Pelagic Black Water in Kona, Hawaii. Ask even the very best of photographers and they will all tell you that shooting under water is no easy task, yet, Oceanic Aliens share the same awe-inducing aesthetic qualities of Blue Planet II – managing to convince you, you are studying the species under the most intrusive of super resolution microscopes.
The score is both metronomically operatic and hauntingly fantastical - beautifully capturing the wonderment of the oceans and the fantasy-like undertaking of the explorations; its eerie, melancholy quality also helps to remind us of the lack of the film’s contemporaries and the research still needed to truly understand the oceans.
The beautiful use of sound, and the stunning solar-like visuals would not amount to much in a documentary that is poorly researched and intellectually unengaging; Oceanic Aliens manages to be both intellectually-stimulating and an impressive piece of filmmaking. The intense research required to pull this off makes the documentary all the more commendable and watchable. I defy anybody who watches this and does not frantically google the names of other obscure marine species to conduct your own research, such is the breadth of alluring detail.
There is only one disappointing aspect of the film: it’s not long enough. This is by no means a criticism; in fact, it's a further endorsement of the film: once it ends, you do wish you were watching a feature-length documentary on the very same subject.
On his description of the film, Johnson writes: “hopefully this short documentary will inspire some to do more [documentaries].”
Yes. I agree.