Cousteau, facts, and nature films

Kerry Clark kclark at
Thu Jun 26 17:09:22 EDT 1997

>>  Keying off the  "He didn't always get his facts right"
sentence --

    In balance, many, probably most, of the nature films I've seen include
factual errors, ranging from a "Darth Vader" octopus whose breathing
movements are carefully synched with the sound of someone breathing through
a SCUBA regulator (in two _different_ films) to carefully staged sequences,
often filmed in aquaria, showing events which are highly unlikely to occur
in the wild. One that springs to mind is a slipper lobster (Scyllarus)
being pursued by a turtle in broad daylight; so far as I know these are
almost entirely nocturnal, so I assume this was removed from a hiding spot
and used to bait the turtle.  For terrestrial films, it's pretty common to
use captive animals to stage hunt/kill sequences.
     Not to excuse this, but film is very expensive and I think many
wildlife production units resort to staging to keep costs to manageable
level.  It might be nice if they cleared the script with a biologist before
including it, though.  A new trend is using computer animation to show rare
events, which is becoming more cost-effective and does not pretend to be
the actual event.
    At a minimum, I wish the narrators would at least look up terms in a
dictionary and learn to pronounce them properly.

- -
Kerry Bruce Clark, F.A.A.A.S.,  Professor of Biological Sciences
Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL 32901-6988
Phone 1-407-768-8000 x8195
-- Proud Member of the Impoverished Gentry --
Visit the Cambrian in 3D at ""
Metazoa website at ""  -- "Bytes of Nature,"
producing the best in natural history software

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