The New Cousteau Movie
- I rented this movie the other night on Amazon... Its in French with subtitles. Distracting to read and watch at the same time.
- I dozed off a few times... This is nothing against the movie, I just tend to do that watching movies at night. But I missed some sections and so I re-watched the movie last night to pick up the stuff I missed.
- First thing to note is that there are two different reviews possible here. One is the story and the other is the movie.
- Second worth noting is that it starts and ends with a disclaimer that the Cousteau Society did not endorse, participate, advise, or associate in any way with the production of the film. It cites references to the books by Jean Michel Cousteau and others that many of us are familiar with. And interviews with former Calypso crew members and others who were involved with Cousteau through the years.
- Okay... So, the story is pretty close to what we've heard but in a greatly abbreviated version. Some aspects skipped, abbreviated or modified to fit the limits of a two hour film. It's main focus is on the personal relationships of the family and pretty much skips all of the diving (AND personal life) between when the boys went off to boarding school and when they rejoined the Calypso as young adults. And, it presents a constant tension between Philippe and JYC.
- As things progress, tensions grow with the pressure to do anything to get the shot... For film and TV production. I was surprised that the movie depicts the Calypso's trip to the Antarctic as a near suicide mission that was underfunded and dangerously under equipped in a dilapidated Calypso vessel. Then, the money all starts to bail and the Cousteau's form the Cousteau Society to raise money directly through the public... This revives them financially... Then Philippe died and Jean Michel and his father carry on... The rest of the story is left un-told.
- As for the movie itself, the vintage equipment looks close but not the same. In one brief glimpse, you can see a double tank yoke with modern DIN valves on either side but aged to look old fashioned. Brief underwater scenes of the Conshelf II underwater encampment are some sort of animation. There's a scene where Philippe is showing his wife how to dive and they have Royal Mistrals that are facing out rather than in. Underwater scenes in general are highly stylized... The water seems too clear... Like you can see them with perfect clarity from way too far away.
- I suppose we should excuse some of the technical weakness if the focus of the movie was on the story. But on the other hand, if the focus of the story was on the personal relationships, why did they leave the last half out... The whole bit with the mistress and the 2nd family and the extorted complicity of Simone and Jean Michel in covering it up for the sake of the organization. And finally the bitter end where the Mistress ends up owning everything and piloting it all down the tube to nothingness. That's the part of the story everyone would like to know the truth about. And they left it out.
- Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the movie... As I enjoy all diving movies. It just wasn't as much as I hoped it would be.
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The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.