Narrator: James Brolin.
Narrator: James Brolin.More than 90 feet long and weighing 1,500 tons, the adult blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth. Once nearly extinct, its numbers have increased in recent years. “ABC World of Discovery” docu presents dazzling footage of its subject; drawbacks are a substandard script and generic score. Co-producer Al Giddings’ underwater photography of the giant beasts — within view of the Golden Gate Bridge — is probably the best yet of the seldom-seen creatures. Artists constructing a life-size model give a dramatic perspective of just how huge these whales are (the dimensions being somewhat hard to assess when they’re underwater). Script by co-producer/editor Rick Blue and David R. O’Dell tells the story, though somewhat repetitively and with a dismaying reliance on cliched language. Within a few minutes’ time, we hear such hackneyed expressions as “wonders never before imagined,””traveling to the farthest reaches of our planet,” and “a frozen and alien world of inner space.” Not to mention the mangled-metaphor description of the producer: “Breaking new ground has been the cornerstone of Al Giddings’ career.” Likewise, score (by Ray Colcord, with theme credited to Lee Holdridge) sounds overly familiar, more reminiscent of “Star Trek” than of the whales’ habitat. Giddings’ photography is admirable and watchable, but best enjoyed, perhaps, with the sound turned down and an encyclopedia at hand.