Documentaries about the marine world are usually shown from a human perspective, especially those who understand the marine world. However, this does not apply to “Puff: Wonders of the Reef” (2021) which uses a different point of view.
This documentary uses the point of view of a puffer fish named Puff. With such a point of view, the audience can better understand what the life of a pufferfish is like, as well as its perspective on the ocean. As a documentary film, “Puff” has a crew of less than hundreds. Even so, they managed to present a documentary with a different point of view.
This documentary opens with the landscape of The Great Bearer Reef as the backdrop. Various visuals showing the process of Puff’s appearance in the coral reef complex were also displayed. Rose Byrne’s voice then appears as a narrator who will accompany the audience during the documentary.
In terms of writing, “Puff” Wonder of the Reef “uses a forward flow that is presented with the right flow, and the duration is relatively short, which is only 62 minutes. While watching this documentary, viewers will not find photo and video footage, as well as interviews from various sources that are commonly used as distractions.
This documentary also does not provide animation effects like “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” (2021). Instead of being a drawback, the absence of these elements makes the audience more focused on following Puff’s life story and her point of view.
The scene-by-scene transitions are relatively smooth thanks to the neat editing of the film. The majority of objects in this film are shot with the Extreme Close Up (ECU) approach, which makes each object look larger and more detailed. For example, in Puff, the original size is small, but it looks bigger thanks to the ECU-based shot approach. With a larger size, viewers can see every detail on Puff’s body, from the look in her eyes to the colors on her scales.
Music is also presented to enliven each scene. The music presented is very varied, following the needs of the scene. In scenes that are relaxed and full of beautiful landscapes, the music that is displayed tends to have ambience nuances. The music then turns tense when the scene shows a dramatic scene.
This documentary also has dramatic scenes that make the documentary less monotonous. The drama’s presentation appears when Puff is about to be eaten by a big fish, and when a scene shows a giant sea slug chasing a smaller snail. Amazingly, all the scenes are real. What makes it dramatic is the presentation of the music scoring, the use of cut-in-based camera shots, and Rose’s narration. Talking about Rose, she is able to become a good narrator thanks to her soft voice and varied intonation. The audience also became comfortable listening to each narration presented by Rose.
This film doesn’t just show Puff’s life process at The Great Bearer Reef. “Puff” also describes the important role coral reefs play for the oceans and all their inhabitants. Coral reefs are the biggest food provider for all marine life, and keep the ocean ecosystem in balance. If coral reefs are damaged, then all that cannot happen. All of the important roles of coral reefs are depicted through intense ECU shots, as well as Rose’s informative and convincing narrative.
The harshness of underwater life is also depicted in this documentary. The audience will see the process of hunting big fish against small fish, including what happened to Puff. The main object of this documentary was almost eaten by a big fish. Luckily, he had poison that kept him going. The documentary then concludes with Puff’s life after becoming an adult puffer fish, implicit messages about the importance of coral reefs, and an upbeat tempo film soundtrack.
For documentary connoisseurs, “Puff: Wonder of the Reef” is another documentary worth watching. This documentary by Nick Robinson has many advantages, so the audience will not regret watching it. After watching this film, the audience will understand many things about the ocean, from the life of puffer fish to the important role of coral reefs.