Universal // 2004 // 42 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // June 26th, 2011
John Williams theme not included.
Sharks 3D is all about...well, sharks. Tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, great white sharks and sand sharks. You name it, that particular shark is probably swimming around somewhere in this movie. Filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of the late, famed sea life expert and documentary filmmaker Jacques Cousteau) takes viewers across a sprawling ocean by way of the sea turtle, who haphazardly becomes our narrator for this particular razor toothed quest. Fans of these death machines of the deep will witness feeding frenzies, symbiotic relationships with other fish and the glassy eyed terror of the great white. Get ready to flex your gills and get in the water with nature's most efficient eating machines!
Sharks 3D was originally produced for IMAX and runs a scant 42 minutes long. This review is going to be fairly black and white -- if you like sharks and watching sharks, this will be a passable addition to your collection. If you have little interest in watching fish swim around for ¾ of an hour, you may want to skip this short movie altogether.
Jean-Michael Cousteau does an admirable if unremarkable job of bringing these sea creatures to the big screen. There are some thrilling moments during the film, especially when a group of sharks go into a feeding frenzy over a school of fish. Another sequence spies a school of hammerhead sharks in all their massive glory -- you can almost feel the majesty of these fish as they roam the ocean looking for their latest prey. These moments stand head and shoulders above even some of the best sea life movies I've witnessed.
These shots, however, are short lived and dropped inside an only mediocre documentary film. Often times the images viewers witness are mildly obscured by sand and oceanic debris which can make for a somewhat frustrating viewing. It may be that a lot of this footage was more impressive on a stories high movie screen in 3D; on a normal sized widescreen TV, it's just of passing interest. Combined with the fact that the narration is at times almost unbearable (it's done through the prospective of a sea turtle and quickly becomes grating) and the musical score a bit of whack, you've got yourself a movie the kids will like but won't offer much replay value for anyone older than 12 years old.
So, that's it -- the movie is just a lot of scenes of fish and mammals (sea lions, turtles, etc.) swimming in the ocean. Some of the information provided during the narration is interesting (I didn't know some sharks can go months without eating, did you?) and the imagery can be spectacular when it's not obscured. I can easily recommend this as a rental for anyone with little children (gruesome or violent animal imagery is almost non-existent) and those fascinating by sharks. The rest of you should just stick with Jaws or, better yet, the fantastically entertaining Deep Blue Sea.
Sharks 3D is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen in a 1080p resolution. The image on this disc is very good, if a bit underwhelming -- frankly, there are many scenes that feel murky and cloudy, making for an only so-so looking picture at times. Other times the image is crisp and clear (especially the later segments of the film). This seems to be more the filmmakers fault than the people who worked on this transfer. Also included on the disc is a 3D presentation (that can only be viewed by consumers who own a 3D television and 3D Blu-ray player).
The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and sounds acceptable. The music levels on this track are inconsistently high, making for a sometimes unbalanced listening experience. The narration is usually clear and well defined, though it's a bit questionable if this documentary even needed narration (which can sometimes feel distracting from the visuals). Also included on this disc are 5.1 tracks in Italian, Castilian, Spanish, French, Japanese, and German, as well as French, German, Italian, Castilian, Spanish, L A Spanish, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Complex Mandarin, Thai and -- PHEW -- Korean. In other words, EVERYONE ON THE PLANET can watch Sharks 3D and know what's going on.
No extra features are included on this disc.
Junior shark hunters apply within.
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (German)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish, Castilian)
* English (SDH)
* Spanish (Castilian)
* Spanish (LA)
Running Time: 42 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* 3D version