PBS // 2010 // 53 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // May 20th, 2012
This one's got bite!
Much like its title suggests, PBS' new documentary series Inside Nature's Giants takes a close look at what exactly goes on inside some of the largest animals on Earth. Featuring a team of experts keen on uncovering their behavioral and evolutionary traits by closely exploring their anatomy, this one-hour program offers viewers a new and engaging take on studying the workings of some of the biggest creatures roaming our planet.
Inside Nature's Giants: Great White Shark takes us to South Africa's KwaZulu Natal Coast, where veterinary scientist Mark Evans, comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg, white shark biologist Enrico Gennari and biologist Simon Watt gear up to study the carcass of a massive great white shark caught in the safety nets put in place to protect local beaches. As luck would have it, this happens to be the biggest shark caught in that area since 2002, and our group of scientists can't wait to get their hands on this fifteen-foot, 2,000-pound monster of the sea.
What makes PBS's show so appealing is the team's approach of studying the selected animals. Focusing mostly on its anatomical features, they spend most of the episode completely dissecting the carcass to get a better understanding of the many ways the great white shark has evolved over the years. Of course, dissections can be pretty graphic, and viewers should be able to stomach bloody guts to enjoy the content of the program to the fullest extent. This method provides a fascinating look at what exactly goes on inside this shark's enormous body.
On average, Reidenberg and Company spend about 10 minutes focusing on a specific part of the carcass, discussing the great shark's superb senses, the origin of its skin and dangerous teeth, the role of its gigantic liver and the surprising power of its different tail muscles. Needless to say, the great white shark is as diverse as an ocean predator can get, and Inside Nature's Giants provides audiences with a pretty comprehensive one-hour crash course focusing on how this warm-blooded hunter has earned its reputation as one of our planet's most feared creatures.
Although the dissection and close-up analysis of the shark's internal parts take center stage in this episode, Inside Nature's Giants: Great White Shark also follows our team of experts into the field (in this case, the ocean), where Enrico Gennari lures sharks with bait to perform bite force tests and further examine the raw power of their jaws. Last but not least, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins shows up throughout the program offering his input on some of the sharks' evolutionary features.
Picture quality and sound don't necessarily stand out, but they do the job well enough for this type of television production. PBS chose not to include any special features, but the disc features English subtitles.
Capturing bloody dissections is probably not the most charming way to share studies about animal behavior and evolution with TV audiences, but it provides compelling clues about how these creatures operate in their territory. Inside Nature's Giants: Great White Shark presents highly informative content in a unique way viewers should appreciate, enticing them to check out the series' other episodes. If you share a fascination with sharks, this is, without a doubt, must-see TV.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 53 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site