The Living Sea (1995)

Meryl Streep,
The Living Sea is a short starring Steven K. Katona, Meryl Streep, and Judith Connor. Filmmaker Greg MacGillivray examines the world's oceans and their importance to life on Earth.
  • 7.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2021-02-19 Added:
  • Roger Holzberg, Tim Cahill, Writer:
  • Greg MacGillivray, Director:
  • David Keighley, Alec Lorimore, Producer:

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10 / 10


I've only ever seen 3 IMAX films and this is one of them. I was totally blown away by the incredible sound and photography. I had to study every shot because there is so much in it.

It's not actually a movie like other IMAX films (such as Across the Sea of Time and T-Rex) but more of a documentary about how we are all islanders and how we live because the sea lives. It was surprisingly effective in this sense. My fave part was the discovery of the new underwater fish and the fish that had, what looked like, thousands of little lights flashing on and off.

A scene with a boat fighting waves and crashing back down onto the sea was better than anything in The Perfect Storm. The sound in this particular scene is IN-CRED-IBLE.

Whenever you pass by an IMAX check to see whether or not they are showing this masterpiece. You'll love it.

10 / 10

Excellent documentary for everyone ((spoilers?))

I picked this up at our library because it looked slightly interesting, and we're going on a beach vacation soon. ...WOW! It is so good!! I've watched it three times now, and took it to a get-together for other family members to watch it, and they all really enjoyed it as well, especially "The Making Of" segment. Our 2-yo was mesmerized, and we all appreciated the very unique, entertaining, beautiful footage. It was originally shot for IMAX theaters, which must have been perfect! I recommend watching it on the biggest screen possible, with the lights out.

Our favorite parts...

Time-lapsed footage of 30-foot tides in Canada: watch the harbor drain until the big boats are sitting on mud, then it fills back up again!

Sped-up footage of boats zipping across the water, people on the beach: humorous.

Surfers and huge waves in Hawaii: really captures the feeling of surfing, and their passion for the ocean.

Coast Guard boat jumping and crashing through enormous waves at Cape Disappointment.

The music by Sting, with tweaked instrumentals, really fits!

Islander Dad with his two kids in a speed boat, cruising at high speeds under rock formations, and skimming the beautiful shores.

The fact that there were no actors, just real people like the dad, and a woman's first time snorkeling with jellyfish and descending into poisonous depths of a salt-water lake.

THE MAKING OF... where the producers talk about difficulties they had with different shots, dangers they faced in several scenes, cost of production, orchestrating the soundtrack, and reason for making this film.

Their reason for making this film, for putting their heart and soul into it, was in the hopes that people who watch it will fall in love with the sea, and therefore want to protect it. As they said, "there is only one ocean," and it encompasses such a majority of the earth that no matter where we live, "we are all islanders."

8 / 10

The best IMAX film I have seen...

I am an avid fan of the IMAX format, but rarely have I ever been a fan of any IMAX film. This is the one IMAX film that I feel has used the advantages of the format in nearly every shot, and besides that, it is an elegantly produced little film. Extremely beautiful, with many highlights. It is a must-see for all those who've never been exactly impressed by anything at an IMAX show (although the 'industry' is working overtime in amping up this cinema-sideshow - they promise it will be the 'next big thing' in movies). DON'T WATCH IT AT HOME.

10 / 10


A fascinating look at how the oceans of the world impact the Earth. Facts like "70% of the Earth's oxygen comes from ocean plants." Great soundtrack from sting that compliments the film and each story. While not as impressive watching it at home as it is in an IMAX theater, it is still well worth a look at.

10 / 10

An Epic Exploration

Meryl Streep narrates the sweeping visual that emphasizes the value of our world's oceans, and how they and the life thriving within depends on us to maintain their majesty. Through research, casual observance, reverence and daily life we are shown how the oceans are interconnected, and that life can be found in even the darkest corners of the sea.

I first saw this IMAX film 13 years ago in the Denver Museum of History and Science, and was floored by how beautifully filmed it was. And the film is well paired with songs from Sting, especially the song 'Fragile'.