Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Sharkwater

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
Rob Stewart as Himself
Patrick Moore as Himself
Erich Ritter as Himself
Paul Watson as Himself
Boris Worm as Himself

Special Features:
Beneath the Surface Featurette
Shark Defense Naval Training Film
Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots
Virtual Underwater Gallery (Blu-Ray)

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 158 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

"For filmmaker Rob Stewart exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. Driven by passion fed from a life-long fascination with sharks Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas. Filmed in visually stunning high definition video 'Sharkwater' takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations. Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks into a fight for his life and that of humankind."

"Sharkwater" is rated PG for images of animal cruelty, thematic elements, language and some smoking.

Mini-Review:
"Sharkwater" really has two parts. The first is your typical nature documentary. We see beautiful underwater footage, impressive scenes of sharks, and other cool stuff. The narration has your typical factoids about sharks and man's fear of them. Being a major shark enthusiast, I've heard a lot of this stuff before but I was still into it. I thought writer/director Rob Stewart and the other shark biologists downplayed how dangerous sharks are a bit much. They make them sound like they're harmless. The fact is they're like any other dangerous animal. If you handle them the wrong way or you don't respect them, you're going to get bit. But they're playing up man's irrational fear of sharks to lead to the next part of the film.

The movie then transitions to its second part a documentary about the battle to protect sharks from finning by fishermen. This is the practice of leaving incredibly long fishing lines in the ocean, catching sharks (and any other animal that happens by), cutting off their fins, then selling the fins to Asian markets for soup. It's a disgusting, cruel, and wasteful practice. It's also decimating the shark population. And unfortunately due to the shark's dangerous reputation and lack of cuddliness, there's no big effort to protect the animals. We follow Rob Stewart as he begins his crusade to stop long line fishing near the Galapagos Islands. To do this, he joins a Greenpeace vessel that is invited by the government of Costa Rica to help stop the illegal fishing. I have a lot of gripes about Greenpeace and I consider many of their tactics to be little better than terrorism, but in this case they're doing good work. In one scene they run across a Guatemalan fishing boat doing illegal fishing. The government tells them to escort the boat to port, but soon enough the Greenpeace crew finds itself charged with attempted murder by a corrupt and bribed Guatemalan government. It exposes the seedy underbelly of Central American governments and the tragic fact that they're in control of major natural resources that are sensitive. As Rob and the crew get deeper into this illegal trade, they find themselves on the run and hopelessly outmanned.

If you're into nature documentaries, "Sharkwater" has a bit more to offer as it delves into conservation and politics as well.

The bonus features are a little slim. There's a making of gallery and a vintage Navy training film on repelling sharks. Their methods are about as effective as "duck and cover" during a nuclear attack. On the Blu-ray Disc you'll find a Virtual Underwater Gallery.

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