When he sunbathes, Judge Ian Visser is known as "The Great White."
Our reviews of Shark Week: Restless Fury (published August 13th, 2011), Shark Week: The Great Bites Collection (published July 24th, 2009), and Shark Week: The Great Bites Collection (Blu-Ray) (published July 24th, 2009) are also available.
Live every week like its Shark Week…
For more than two decades the Discovery Channel has held an annual week-long focus on that most-feared of sea creatures: the shark. Hosted in 2008 by "Survivorman" Les Stroud, Shark Week: Ocean of Fear features examinations of sharks and their habits.
Discovery Channel has assembled all six episodes of the 2008 series onto a two-disk set. The shows include:
Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever
Top Five Eaten Alive
Shark Feeding Frenzy
What surprised me most about watching Shark Week: Ocean of Fear is how little I actually learned about sharks. There is plenty of blood and gore on display, and lots of shots of sharks biting and chomping things, but if you are looking for a detailed biology of the species you're going to be disappointed. I watched all six episodes of this series and learned very little about shark procreation, life cycles, or general habits. Instead, we get many of the same facts (they are attracted to motion, they can smell their prey, they bite) repeated ad naseum, making much of the material repetitive.
Two of the episodes, Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever and Top Five Eaten Alive make heavy use of recreations and suffer for it. Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever has access to survivors of the USS Indianapolis, but too often relegates them to the sidelines. Why would we want to see actors recounting the experience when we have the actual men who lived through the experience? Top Five Eaten Alive, in turn, throws so much red dye into its re-enactments of shark attacks that it ends up almost comical. There is something a little grotesque about people's suffering being turned into breathless, bloody entertainment, and this segment often crosses that line.
There are some decent episodes in Shark Week: Ocean of Fear, however. Sharkman concentrates less on the "man eating" shtick to take a gentler approach to the creatures, and Shark Tribe reveals some interesting facts about a culture many of us have never heard of. The danger element is never entirely subdued in these segments, but the fear-mongering is lessened enough at times so that we can concentrate on something else besides the blood and gore.
The episodes featured on Shark Week: Ocean of Fear are straight dumps from the original broadcast, but they are very good in terms of quality. The image suffers from no apparent defects and beautifully captures the underwater realm of these creatures. The 2-channel Dolby audio is well-balanced between dialogue, sound effects, and music. Unfortunately, there are no sub-titles and no extras included in the release.
It's a shame that Shark Week: Ocean of Fear couldn't take a more balanced and informative position towards it's subject, but I guess the Discovery Channel knows what people want when it comes to this event. If you are looking for sharks doing the things that sharks are famous for, then Shark Week: Ocean of Fear will more than satisfy.
Shark Week: Ocean of Fear is chastised for its lack of special features, but released back into the sea for delivering what fans want.
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