I got the opportunity to see OceanMen at a special preview in the London BFI IMAX cinema today, and all I can say is "wow"! I literally felt goose bumps watching the large format movie.
Unlike other IMAX movies, this follows an almost documentary orientated look at two world-class freedivers Pipin Ferreras and Umberto Pelizzari.
The film starts off with a few minutes with Jacques Mayol, one of the original competition Freedivers, and half of the dynamic rivalry captured in the Luc Besson film "The Big Blue". The film continues it’s journey by introducing Pipin and Umberto to the audience, this is achieved by taking you into their past and seeing how the got into Freediving, how they became friends and then bitter rivals. The final section of the film follows the two as they prepare to try to break world records, No-Limits to 160m for Pipin, Constant Ballast of 80m for Umberto.
All through the film you are introduced to various support people who help make up the partners and support crew for each of the main hero’s…and each section is told and narrated from the respective person’s point of view, which helps you feel exactly what Pipin and Umberto feel before and during the dive, add in a couple of "scientific" looks at how the body copes with the tremendous pressures and you’ve got the making of a very entertaining, touching and informative film.
In some ways this movie is very similar to "The Big Blue", but in others it’s very different. The photography is something like I’ve never seen before…I actually felt like I was there with the hero’s on screen, perhaps this was due to the fact it was an IMAX movie – but I’d like to think it was more to do with the skill that Bob Talbot showed in his directing, as well as the totally haunting soundtrack featuring new original music and tracks by timeless Enya.
This film was never meant to be a hard-core look at the world of Freediving, and some purists may feel cheated that it didn’t go into enough depth – but I thought it struck the right balance and should prove to be an excellent springboard for helping to promote the sport of Freediving.
My conclusion – go and see the movie at your local IMAX, and if it isn’t showing – ask to speak to the manager and get them to start!