DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Sharkwater - DVD Review


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</script></div>{/googleAds}My favourite film of all time has always been ‘Jaws'. The tension that film created, pitting three guys against a giant, man-eating leviathan has long been imitated and never been rivalled. Just as infamous as its story is the effect it had on the public, giving folk am almost phobic fear of ocean water for a time, and a deep-seeded fear of sharks probably already engrained in us exacerbated to hysterical proportions...

Perhaps, right or wrong, man has always feared the greatest predator of the ocean, but a healthy attitude toward them is something I assumed was there for almost everyone. I might have cheered when Roy Scheider blew ‘Bruce, the shark' to smithereens in the ‘Jaws' finale, but in the real world, just as with land predators like lions and tigers, I have always thought of them as a thing of beauty... to be watched from a safe distance.. With many of the world's predators in danger, and attention being brought to us on the plight of tigers especially, it has shocked me to learn that sharks are at the very top of the list on endangered species. They are being hunted to extinction, and ask anyone on the street about them, and almost nobody knows...

SharkwaterRob Stewart, a passionate advocate of sharks, has successfully opened this reviewer's eyes to the plight of these remarkable animals with his multi-award winning documentary that serves to show how, how many, and for what ridiculously pointless reasons, these creatures are being killed in sickening numbers every day. The shark fin industry runs second only to drugs in illicit profiteering from organised crime and corrupt governments worldwide. Stewart takes you on a journey to show just how grave this situation has become, and along the way, attempts to debunk many of the misconceptions people have about these animals.

This film had a purpose, and it accomplishes it within minutes with unflinching footage that is difficult to watch, but so effective in exposing the atrocities being committed in our oceans that luck willing some of the headway they make throughout the documentary getting laws changed may spread to other parts of the world.

It seems almost pointless to critique this documentary as a film, because its purpose is not to entertain, but to educate and to open people's eyes. Nevertheless the film, while a tour de force and absolute success in its intent, is not without its faults.

The writing, primarily the voice-over from Stewart, is melodramatic and completely unnecessary, considering what is shown throughout. It also leans on repetition and falls really short when Stewart tries to get Zen and poetic. While, by film's end, there will be no doubt in your mind Rob Stewart is in love with sharks, his writing and voice-over work comes across as disingenuous at times and overblown. His passion was all he needed, and being himself, perhaps narrating on camera, in the moment instead of trying to unnecessarily beautify moments, would have removed this fault entirely. The film's structure is also a little messy, and instead of repeating over itself at different intervals, a solid assembly of those points built upon each other, instead of weaved throughout like a blanket, would have been preferable to coming back to that point twenty minutes later in a different locale.

It's obvious to anyone Rob Stewart set out to bring an important issue to the fore, and his film will go a long way in doing exactly that. To fault the man on film technique is really to miss the point of what he was doing. He has been a resounding success educating those of us this reviewer included that live in ignorance while sharks are being systematically slaughtered to extinction. To honour his efforts, honour this film, and show it or buy for as many as you're able. This is a film that could change the fate of sharks. Outstanding work.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.33:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; Sharkwater: Beneath the Surface featurette; vintage naval training film.

* Featurettes
o Sharkwater: Beneath the Surface - Making-of Featurette (16:00)
o Shark Defense (11:00) - Vintage naval training footage
* TV Spots
* Trailer

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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