I think you'll all agree with me
that The Great Shark Hunt is not exactly the best title for a
nature documentary about shark conservation; I suspect it was slapped
on the film by a marketing guy who thought something like "Saving
the Sharks" would be too boring. OK, it could have been worse
(we could have had something along the lines of "Monster Killer
Deadly Sharks!!!!" or "Sharks vs. Humans: The Grudge
Match") but it does put rather the wrong initial spin on what's
really a quite mild-mannered, reasonable documentary.
The Great Shark Hunt opens by
dispelling some of the popular myths about sharks as man-eating
creatures, and by pointing out how these slow-to-reproduce creatures
are being threatened by the human desire to eat them (or use their
parts for medicine or other purposes). Particular attention is paid
to one of the prime causes of shark endangerment: the market for
fins, which are a delicacy in China.
A substantial amount of the film
focuses on how researchers are learning about sharks. In addition to
seeing divers investigating sharks in their natural habitat, we also
find out about a program to encourage commercial fishermen to tag and
release sharks so that researchers can follow their migratory
The Great Shark Hunt is a
low-key but moderately interesting program, mixing a variety of
interviews with scientists and researchers with footage of the sharks
and the ongoing research programs. The film keeps its focus on the
conservation angle, without branching out into detailed information
on the biology or habits of the sharks; while this means that the
documentary avoids the area that I'd have found most interesting, it
also means that it maintains a nice focus and doesn't wander.
At only 45 minutes, there's not a
really substantial amount of content, but what there is, is presented
reasonably well. Probably the main strike against the film is that
its underwater footage is fairly ordinary-looking, with no really
impressive footage of the sharks. It's probably a program that would
work well in a grade-school or high-school class.
The Great Shark Hunt is
presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which I assume is its correct
presentation. It has a rather low-budget look, but is watchable; the
image is soft and a bit washed-out overall, but there are no serious
The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is
adequate, presenting the voices of the interview subjects in a
reasonably clear manner, although there's some background noise at
times. There's a slightly tinny quality to the sound overall, but as
with the video, it's passable. English subtitles are included.
There are no special features. On
the bright side, it does have chapters.
The Great Shark Hunt, despite
its sensationalist name, is a reasonably
interesting nature documentary about shark conservation. I didn't
find the subject extremely gripping, as I would have been more
interested in learning more about the sharks themselves, but for a
focused program on conservation, it's well handled. At only 45
minutes long with no supplements, it's a bit weak for a purchase if
you're just thinking of watching it yourself, but it's probably a
reasonable buy for a teacher looking for audio/visual supplements for
a science course. Overall, I'll give it a "rent it."