Fathom is a visual and aural wonder of a documentary that follows researchers working to finally decode the communication of humpback whales. With Dr. Michelle Fournet, Dr. Ellen Garland.I don’t like animal documentaries, but in my desire to watch all the films on Apple TV I landed on this one, which is one of the most curious films I’ve seen recently. Its intentions are noble and subject matter is, on the surface, interesting, but ultimately, it’s watching people doing a bit of research, for the entire run time.Whale song has been a mystery for as long as we’ve been aware of it. The scientists involved in this film believe that it’s not just idle vocalisation, but the oldest form of organised communication on the planet. Dr Michelle Fournet is in Alaska and trying to determine whether adding an artificial call into the area has an effect on local whale community. Meanwhile Doctor Ellen Garland attempts to track a specific whale song around French Polynesia to see if the songs are passed on, by the whales, like a story.My main problem with “Fathom” is, I think, the main problem that most people have with it. Despite some lovely cinematography it’s essentially watching some people do their job and their job generally involves standing still, listening to headphones. It’s an honourable endeavour, trying to research a valuable subject matter than might prove vital in all sorts of unforeseen ways. I absolutely support people doing this research – but that doesn’t mean I want to watch them do it. It doesn’t help further than there’s not much in the way of conclusion at the end of the research. With Dr Fournet, I don’t understand whether they got any answers on anything, she seemed moved at the end though, so I suspect the problem there might be me. Dr Garland is a little more clear, as she hears a song several hundred miles away from where it was first identified, which does indeed suggest that the songs are passed around and copied by other whalesIt feels like, rather than accept that the time spent recording these two research trips should be rolled up into another film, in a few years’ time, when whatever the next steps in this research has been done, the footage was padded with personal information to make a run time, and then released anyway.Nice to look at, but a waste of time.