Genius Products // 2009 // 163 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // March 16th, 2009
Heart stopping animal encounters caught on tape!
For anyone who's brushed off Animal Planet as a family-friendly channel, Untamed & Uncut will take you by surprise. This raw, uncompromising reality program seeks to emphasize how dangerous many animals are with an array of footage of snakes, elephants, bears, etc., causing damage on humans. That's right: we witness a man getting bit in the stomach by a cobra, a woman being attacked by a cheetah, a surfer getting in the crossfire of two great white sharks, and a wrangler who gets his head caught in an alligator's mouth during a zoo show.
Although the show premiered in 2008 for a full season, Animal Planet and Genius Products have conspicuously only provided four episodes, each running about 40 minutes. Each one is titled according to the main story: Cobra Attack, Double Great White Shark Attack, Cheetah Attack, and Elephant Shock.
The editing is typical of most reality shows: we introduce the subject and conflict, the "money shots" are repeated to the point of exhaustion, the narration is slightly exaggerated and delivered with as much suspense as a porcupine entering a baby's crib and, finally, conclude with the survivor reflections. This is not kid's stuff, mind you, as animals are shown in peril and human damage can get quite gory at times; for adults, however, it provides plenty of info as the animal's nature and behavior are included by experts and veterinarians. The format never really varies, though all the episodes feature "Quick Clips," which is no more than a single scene without narration for mere amusement than shock purposes.
Despite the repetition and occasionally overwrought narration, this is reasonably compelling stuff. However, this DVD is more of a tease than anything else, as it comes off more as a "best of" compilation, not even including one-third of the show's 13 episodes. It's quite clear this is one of those tests to see how many audiences will buy into it, which will determine eventually if a second volume is worth it. Personally, I don't think it is since you could catch this show on Animal Planet sometime or even find an equivalent of some sort. On top of everything else, some of these subjects are so ignorant it's unbelievable. It's one thing if you're going to house poisonous snakes, but why do so without anti-venom? Would you seriously reach inside a shark's mouth to remove a hook? Would you report on a mule race standing right next to the race track? These guys should put in their applications for Jackass Number Three, if you ask me.
Things are not special on the technical side. The full frame image is very clean, with the only damage coughed up in the older footage, one event that happened in the mid-80s. Sound is serviceable in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, and no subtitles, closed captioning or extras.
Guilty of being more tease than queasy.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 163 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated