Sharkwater (2007) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Documentary
Warner Brothers || NR - 89 minutes - $28.99 || April 8, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-04-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Rob Stewart
Writer(s): Rob Stewart (written by)
Cast: N/A


Theatrical Release Date: November 2, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Shark Defense
  • Virtual Ocean
  • Making of Sharkwater Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby 2.0), French (Dolby 2.0), Spanish (Dolby 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French

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.::THE FILM::.

Sharkwater is an interesting documentary filmed in 2006 by filmmaker Rob Stewart (who sounds eerily familiar to Seth Green) about the killing of sharks and illegal selling of their fins. When I sat down to watch this documentary, I was really expecting to see something along the lines of "Planet Earth" or "Galapagos" but what follows is a documentary that dives into several different themes in its 89 minute run time and at times can be a little hard to follow exactly what Rob wants us to see and feel. I should also make mention that there is a lot of graphic scenes of sharks and other sea-life being brutally killed and harmed to the point where I had to look away at some of the things being shown. While this may make Rob's argument more effective, I really did not need to see a turtle's eye being gouged out and a nail being hammered into its jaws while it was still alive screaming in pain.

At the start of the documentary Rob explains to us that he loves Sharks and wants to set out to bring awareness to the situation of illegal Shark killing for their fins and the fact that Sharks see us as a threat and would more then likely avoid us then kill us. Several times throughout we are greeted with facts that help prove his case like that on average Sharks only kill 5 humans a year while Elephants kill 100. I found these to be effective but I'm sure he cherry-picked the ones that would help prove his argument.

In great detail, Rob shows us ways that poachers and other fisherman illegally kill and capture Sharks and other sea-life. One of these methods is Long Lining where a long line, some up to a hundred miles, is connected between two points and then has small lines with hooks attached to them to bait, catch and kill sea-life. While the long lines may be set up only to catch certain type of sea-life, it unfortunately catches numerous other animals that the poacher has no interest in and dumps back into the ocean, wounded or dead. Rob is luckily able to scare away a long lining fishing boat and is able to release as many of the animals as possible before they were killed. Unfortunately some were killed and many strangled themselves trying to get free from the long line.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All extras are presented in 1080i HD. Oddly enough my PS3 will not show a run time for the film or any of the special features so I apologize as those run times will not be included below.

Shark Defense (Vintage video) - A hysterical training video from 1964 commissioned by the US Air Force for Shark Training. This feels like something you would watch on YouTube.

Virtual Ocean - A clipshow of various HD shots of Ocean creatures with background music playing. What's great about this feature is that it automatically loops, so it would make a great background movie to be played at a party or to just show off you're Blu-ray player and HDTV to your friends and family. Simply a FANTASTIC extra.

Theatrical Trailer & TV spots - It's exactly what you think it is.

Making of Sharkwater Featurette (Blu-ray Exclusive) - Your typical making-of featurette. Fairly informative but the DVD exclusive feature sounds like it would be more interesting which brings me to...

I'm going to have to take issue with this release. The Blu-ray version includes an exclusive feature (Making Of...) and the DVD release includes an exclusive feature (Beneath the Surface). Why? I'm baffled as to why Blu-ray owners get charged a $10 premium price and we don't even get all the extras available on the Day and Date DVD release. Who is really going to pick up the DVD version over the Blu-ray version (if they own a Blu-Ray player) because of that exclusive DVD Special Feature?



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Sharkwater is presented in 1080i (the case says 1080p but my TV and others say differently) in its OAR 1:85.1 on a 25GB Blu-ray disc. Some of the underwater scenes are truly marvelous. Colors have a nice pop to them, and the short scene showing the Clownfish playing is simply spectacular; demo material for sure. Unfortunately I can't say the say for the rest of the rest of the film as certain shots appear very soft or have excessive grain to them. I watched the episode Ocean Deep (from the Planet Earth set) for comparison right after and found the quality of Sharkwater to be not as crisp.

The picture quality is extremely hard to grade due to the fact that a good chunk of the film showcases clips that vary in years and picture quality because some of the footage is over forty years old. My grade will be based on the entire film, including the older footage and clips, since it is used for roughly 35% of the film. *** / *****

For audio we get served up Dolby Digital 5.1, as well as separate English, French and Spanish 2.0 tracks. English and French subtitles are also included. I was pleasantly surprised by the audio considering this is a documentary and was not even expecting much from it. Several times throughout background music is being played over various film footage or shots of sea creatures that encompassed my entire 5.1 setup. However I was not blown away by any means, and Planet Earth still sounded much better. *** / *****



.::OVERALL::.

Overall the documentary is enjoyable but I really can't see this having much of a replay value to it. The clownfish scene looks spectacular, but I could always put on an episode of "Planet Earth" and have the same affect for 50 minutes vs. the 15 seconds here. The documentary is very informative and I fully got the point of it, but I could have done without seeing the excessive mutilation and pain that some of the sea-life went through. Running in at 89 minutes the film feels like it runs about 20 minutes too long.