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Of course as the name implies My Octopus Teacher.. the author is sharing what he learned from the octopus... him telling the story was central to the movie.It doesn't matter to me how it was filmed--whether there was only one pufferfish or several lookalikes, or whether it was filmed entirely in the wild or partly in a tank. What I don't like are documentary-like films that anthropomorphize animals. In Puff, they gave the fish a name and turned it into a main character. MOT took that device even further. I have seen some other films that are more like nature docu-dramas, following a pride of lions or whatever as though they were a human family. "It looks like Mary is going to bring home an elk for the family's dinner." I liked Puff better than MOT because at least the main, uh, character was actually the fish. In MOT, the filmmaker made the film more about himself than the octopus, which struck me as arrogant--typical of travel show hosts nowadays, but not so much documentary filmmakers. Nature documentaries should be about the animals, not the host. I don't care about the host's personal revelations--what the octopus "taught" him. The host should be my guide, nothing more. David Attenborough, perhaps the best nature documentary host ever, wouldn't do this silliness.
Maybe what bothered me was that I felt the movie blurred the line between documentary and Disney. I like to know whether what I'm watching is fact or fiction. I suppose I enjoy both documentaries and feel-good animal shows, but it adds to my enjoyment to know where the line is. Same with any scenes in Puff that may have been staged in a tank.Of course as the name implies My Octopus Teacher.. the author is sharing what he learned from the octopus... him telling the story was central to the movie.