As cinema progresses past some of the awareness-raising limitations of conventional journalism, we're watching more docs on genocide, abortion, global warming, that whole pig-fuck of a war—and just when you thought it was safe to take what's in the water for granted, illegal finning operations that are wiping out the shark population. Toronto-based wildlife photographer and first-time filmmaker Rob Stewart spent five years on this ode to his lifelong aquatic obsession, which became a platform after Stewart fell in with Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson and his merry crew of boat-ramming eco-pirates. Rather than paint a disembodied, March of the Penguins–style nature portrait—or what might have been fantastic in an unbiased director's hands: a film about Watson's fanatical crusade—Stewart is his own star, a would-be Speedo model and whoa-dude narrator whose droning reflections get in the way of his stunning underwater cinematography. Stewart has made a vain polemic that never addresses the finning industry's deep-seated cultural significance in Asia (where, rightly or wrongly, shark soup is a symbol of economic prestige), nor elaborates on how the disrupted ecosystem affects us humans.
He only wants to cuddle.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Nov. 2. Rated PG. 89 minutes.