Blu-ray
One to Avoid
2 stars
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Overall Grade
2 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
1.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
2.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3 Stars
Supplements
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
One to Avoid

IMAX: Search for the Great Sharks

Street Date:
May 17th, 2011
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
May 16th, 2011
Movie Release Year:
1995
Studio:
Inception Media
Length:
45 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Sharks are fascinating creatures. Well, at least I find them fascinating. They've been around for millions of years and have, through evolution, perfected the art of killing. Ever since 'Jaws,' sharks have captured our imagination, but at the same time made us afraid to go into the water. Discovery channel devotes a week every year to sharks and I suggest sticking to that. The IMAX movie 'Search for the Great Sharks' is an outdated, curiously scripted documentary about sharks that no one should really have to watch ever again.

Filmed in the early 90s, 'Search for the Great Sharks' might have been right on with its shark science then, but a lot of what we know has changed over the years. It's strange when you're watching a scientific documentary and you find yourself saying, "Well, they actually proved that wrong a few years ago."

A group of scientists travel the world asking questions about sharks and finding little to no answers. One of their big questions is "Will Great White Sharks attack a human without being provoked." So, these brilliant scientists build a giant cylinder made completely of thick fiberglass that will be lowered into the water. In the water the cylinder is nearly invisible. This is all well and good, and then they tie a dead fish to the actual cage. This seemed stupid to me. Aren't you baiting the shark now? Haven't you tainted your experiment by doing something like that? Isn't that like saying, "Here, we'll tie this bloody tuna stump to your leg and have you jump in those shark infested waters. Let's see if they attack you." If the shark does go for the man inside the invisible cage who's to say he's not just trying to find a way to eat the dead fish hanging there?

None of the known reasons for attacks is ever researched here. If you've ever tuned into Shark Week on the Discovery Channel like I do every year, you'd know that sharks attack humans because of a few reasons. Either they mistake the silhouette of a human on a surfboard for a seal, the flailing of human appendages in the water mimics the sound fish make while swimming, or the shark is simply investigating the human with their mouth. Over the years we've found out those really are the main reasons why sharks like the Great White consistently attack humans. These would have been better experiments to conduct rather than just lowering a guy into the water with dead fish tied to his cage. Hmm… I wonder what will happen.

Thankfully, 'Search for the Great Sharks' only lasts a brief 46 minutes. Even though this is a documentary, most of the dialogue is obviously (and might I add painfully) scripted. Most of the time I felt like I was watching one of those cheesy educational videos in high school that the substitute teacher puts on because he's got nothing better to do. There are many other updated and worthwhile shark documentaries out there. Don't bother with this one.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Speaking of cheesy educational videos, 'Search for the Great Sharks' doesn't look much better than those dilapidated old videos you were forced to watch in school. Sure the doc has been given the 1080p treatment, but it still doesn't look all that spectacular.

The entire production has a flat blandness to it that reeks of early 90s filming. The constant use of the fish-eye lens may have worked to immerse you into some of the more stunning shots on an IMAX screen, but on a smaller screen it becomes tedious to look at. The top corners are constantly cut off, causing rounded triangles to appear whenever the movie goes into fish-eye mode. I'm assuming that this is because it fit nicely on the IMAX screen, but here it's rather annoying to have these solid color triangles appear in the upper corners every so often. Detail is hazy, and softness rules the picture adding more and more to that 90s look. The image is overly noisy filled with blips and flecks, pieces of dust and hair that routinely crop up throughout the movie's runtime.

This is a lackluster video presentation at best.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

The audio presentation isn't anything to scream about either. It's been given the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 treatment, but it's still a pretty tame sound design.

Dialogue sounds canned and tinny. Sound effects like the banging of metal as the sharks wrestling around metal cages in the water sound phony like they were added in during post production. Corny music is played whenever the sharks attack the dead fish in the water like it's supposed to create a suspenseful atmosphere. LFE is light, even when the movie tries to create tense situations.

Like the video presentation this audio presentation leaves a lot to be desired.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

The only features that have been included are previews for other IMAX movies.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no Blu-ray exclusives provided here.

Final Thoughts

Sharks deserve a more thought-provoking, in-depth documentary. Fortunately for you there are plenty of shark-centric docs that have been produced recently that should fill your shark needs. 'Search for the Great Sharks' is as outdated as they come, and even when it was first filmed people should have been staring at the screen wondering if these people we were watching were actually scientists. Both the audio and video are below average. This is one to avoid if you were thinking of picking it up.

Technical Specs

  • 25GB Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, Spanish, French

Supplements

  • IMAX Trailer Reel

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