Sea Monsters: Search for the Giant Squid

Synopsis: The giant squid (genus Architeuthis) seems like a creature from mythology--the world's largest invertebrate (up to 60 feet long), the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, a highly developed brain, a voracious predator. In works of fiction, they are a ferocious enemy of man. But the giant squid is real. Yet all we know about them comes from carcasses washed up on shore or caught in fishermen's nets; Architeuthis has never been seen alive. This documentary looks at the scientific efforts to find a live specimen in nature, focusing on Dr. Clyde Roper's project to attach a "Crittercam" camera to a sperm whale (which feeds on giant squid) in hopes that the whale will lead us to the elusive deep-sea giant squid.
Genre: Documentary
Actors: Stacy Keach
 
IMDB:
6.9
Year:
1998
55 min
5 Views

On Mexico's Sea of Cortez a marine

biologist prepares to encounter

an animal

local fisherman fear

more than sharks.

He is exploring a nether-world

between fantasy and fact,

pursuing a legendary monster of

the deep that does, in fact, exits...

Around the world,

strange carcasses drift ashore,

and fishermen catch huge creatures

they have never seen before.

Bit by bit, the secret life of this

strange animal is becoming known.

We can study its anatomy and the

behavior of its smaller relatives -

the bizarre and wonderful creatures

called cephalopods.

If they did live anywhere

where a man lived,

they would make mince-meat

of him in no time.

Fiction has always branded the giant

squid a ferocious enemy of man,

and some of its close relations

can be terrifying indeed.

Master of the deep ocean, the

sperm whale knows what we cannot,

but recently scientists have

found a way to learn its secrets.

"Whales were known to feed

on squids,

so it made sense to me try to

use the sperm whale

as our "hound dog" to lead

us to the giant squid.

"We really don't know very much

about what happens to whales

once they leave the surface.

So we're working with a mystery

that is hunting a mystery."

Descend with us now

into the dark and mysterious world

of the sperm whale

and its fearsome quarry,

Architeuthis, the giant squid.

For most of human history the ocean

has seemed a terrifying place.

Superstitious sailors reported many

strange sightings at sea.

Their stories summoned up a fantastic

variety of monsters

that threatened them.

These ominous creatures were often

blamed when disaster struck-

as it frequently did.

Perhaps the most feared of all was

called "the Kraken"

a many-armed beast of incredible

size and strength.

But most sea monsters proved to be

harmless or non-existent.

All but "the Kraken" - known

today as the giant squid.

The national Museum of Natural

History in Washington, D.C.

houses over a hundred thousand

squid specimens -

one of the largest collections in

the world.

In this working laboratory,

Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Clyde

Roper is engrossed

in the study of cephalopods,

such as octopuses, cuttlefish,

and squid -

and he welcomes the notoriety

of the giant squid.

"People have to have their monsters,

for some reason,

and, uh, of course squid make a

perfect monster

because I really think that, um,

especially for many

young people today

that the giant squid has become

the new dinosaur."

It's called Architeuthis,

Greek for "the ruling squid".

It is the perfect sea monster

in fantasy,

and a formidable predator in fact.

It dwarfs most other life in the sea.

It deploys a writhing mass of

suckered arms and tentacles

which ensnare its prey and jam it

into a parrot-like beak.

It glares upon the world with the

largest eyes in the animal kingdom.

Clyde Roper has a life-long

passion for the giant squid,

and is determined to see one

alive in its natural habitat.

It all began when he was a teenager,

working as a lobster fisherman

in New Hampshire.

"It doesn't take very long, when

you're working on, on cephalopods...

"squids especially, uh,

become aware

that giant squids actually exist.

"and, as a idealistic young fellow,

I was pretty, um,

incensed that so many...

"mis-truths could be told about

these magnificent animals.

And, as I got deeper and

deeper into it,

I understood why there were so

many misunderstandings

and that is because there were

so few specimens

that had ever been found,

no giant squid had ever

been seen alive and,

until this day, has never been

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Kevin McCarey

Kevin McCarey is an Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker and author. He has worked extensively for National Geographic Television and the Turner Networks as producer, writer and director of documentaries. His narrative film work includes festival winners Coyotes, San Juan Story and Extinction. more…

All Kevin McCarey scripts | Kevin McCarey Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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