Nixon, a documentarian and conservationist, and actor Stevens, an avid scuba diver, deal in scientific facts here, in an era when facts — especially those pointing to climate change or environmental calamity — are oddly considered optional in many quarters. It helps that Earle and her oceanographer colleague at the Smithsonian Institute, Jeremy Jackson, are both scientists with unusual abilities to speak not just in understandable terms but also in eloquent ones. And it helps, too, that the music, images, storytelling and editing are all so tight, and so enjoyable.
"Mission Blue" is also the name of Earle's effort to designate "hope spots" in the ocean, which are akin to protected parklands. After seeing this documentary, which continues Netflix's foray into high-quality documentary production, it's hard not to get on board.