• Search For The Great Sharks


    Released By: Inception Media Group
    Released On: 05/17/2011
    Director: Mal Wolfe
    Cast: Rodney Fox, Eugenie Clark, Joseph Campanella
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Film:

    Normally, the words “shark” and “Blu-ray” go together like Popeye and spinach. Throw “IMAX” into that mix, and you should have a guaranteed winner. So, when I put on the new Blu-ray of Inception Media Group’s Search For The Great Sharks, I expected nothing but awesome. Inception, why have you forsaken me?

    Search For The Great Sharks gets out of the gate with a tried-and-true formulaic approach to underwater documentary film making. Narrator Joseph Campanella’s slightly upbeat but still educational tone introduces the viewers to the main players, in this case, known American Ichthyologist Eugenie Clark, and Australian shark bite victim Rodney Fox. For anyone not in the know, Rodney is the survivor of a brutal Great White Shark attack that required over four hundred stitches to close up, and the inventor of the underwater apparatus known as the shark cage. Campanella gives a little bit of background on the two, and of Clark’s research into shark repellent, and then we get to the good stuff as Rodney dons a chain mail suit to get down and dirty.

    This is pretty much where Search For The Great Sharks loses all focus and heads off into random land. The film seems to be split up into three sections, the first one being the introduction that I just mentioned, followed by a segment on Whale Sharks and then one on Great Whites. Both segments feature some pretty neat photography that looks stunning in 1080P, but the problem is that there’s not enough of it, and it’s all over the place. The film switches from the sharks over to sea lions, back to sharks, and for some reason, the filmmakers felt the need to put some of the worst acting seen outside of adult films. Different “dangerous” situations suddenly pop up, accentuated by music cues and the horribly faked reactions of the people involved. It can be said that the acting is so bad because these are scientists, not actors, but that’s about the only silver lining.

    If this review sounds disjointed and random, it is largely because the film itself is disjointed and random. Focusing more on the underwater photography that makes similar documentaries so compelling and abandoning the theatrics would have been a wise move. Examining more shark species than the three or four on display would’ve also been advantageous; with so few sharks in the film, what are they searching for? The biggest complaint that I would make about this film, though, would be the brevity. Running less than 40 minutes in length, which I understand is common with IMAX films, Search For The Great Sharks doesn’t even have a chance to get going, and probably would’ve been better off left as a portion of a museum exhibit. With such a lack of focus, coupled with such a short running time, Search For the Great Sharks is ultimately less than mediocre.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Search For The Great Sharks is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and most of the photography looks amazing. The DTS-HD 5.1 track is also more than adequate, though the surrounds are mainly used for the score.

    The only extras on the disc are a number of trailers for other IMAX films, but curiously not this one. It would have been interesting to see if the trailer for Search For The Great Sharks made it look as interesting as the other IMAX films appear from their trailers.

    The Final Word:

    With so many thorough and well put together wildlife and underwater documentaries in the high-definition marketplace, you’re better off skipping this one, a mediocre film in a disappointingly barebones package.
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      Does Steve share my hatred of sharks, hence no paws-review here?
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Why do you hate sharks?
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Steve.....bah. Steve watched this in anticipation. He had all 4 paws ready to give it the full go-ahead, but when no crazy porno action broke out after the dramatized scenes, he quietly skulked into the kitchen and chewed on his bed.
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Sharks are awesome.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Sharks are amazing.

      My oldest pup loves 70s and 80s porn. It's good to let dogs watch porn.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I love sharks, too. I got the Shark Week collection on blu ray, i can watch it over and over again. This thing was not good. I read some brief comments on the old DVD release...stuff like, "You can buy it here for 5.99, which makes it more worth it" and some of the things that i commented on about it being too short. It was really poorly done.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Too bad they don't put two or three of these 40 minutes IMAX features on one disc. I hate getting stuff that doesn't even fill an hour. Unless its something I don't want to watch, then I'm grateful.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Yeah, that would be the way to do it. In Ottawa, the IMAX or OmniMAX theatre is attached to a museum of some kind. You check out the exhibits, you can go watch a film. Now, the film that i saw there was about the Titanic, and it was awesome, but the point is, the film isn't really the highlight or the standalone feature, it's part of the exhibit. Maybe Search for the Great Sharks would work in that context. Because it definitely doesn't work on home video.
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      I hate sharks. They are not awesome. They should be exterminated, wiped off the planet, made extinct and forgotten. I want to go on a tropical vacation that's sole purpose is a shark cull. I would personally kill every last shark I could find - every breed, every type. "Exterminate the brutes."

      Oh and fuck you, Peter Benchley.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      That's all nice, but why do you hate them? Did something bad happen to you or your family caused by a shark? I hate spiders because they freak me out. See? I shared.

      Peter Benchley was awesome. But if you want to fuck his corpse, no one here will stop you.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      I am fascinated by sharks and think they are rad, but also consider them my enemies - because they want to eat me.
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      What Ian said - sharks are inhuman killing machines that serve no purpose on this planet and therefore should be eliminated.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Actually, you should check out some of the Shark Week and BBC documentaries, Nolando, they explain the necessities of sharks in the marine food chain in great detail.