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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Anatomy of a Shark Bite
Anatomy of a Shark Bite
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // July 12, 2005
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 18, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The DVD release timely after a few very tragic incidents this year, "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" notes early on that the statistics say that shark bites are rare. However, the majority of the program takes a detailed look at one shark attack that was actually shot on camera. Scientist Erich Ritter was out in the water with another man in the midst of what appears to be at least a dozen sharks swimming around them in the crystal clear, shallow water.

Things seem to be fairly calm, which illustrates the apparent point that Ritter is trying to make - that they can stand in the water with sharks and be alright. Within seconds, a shark bumps Ritter, checking him out. Right after that, the shark latched onto his leg. Ritter luckily was only left with a limp after surgeries to repair his badly damaged leg.

Throughout the program, Ritter discusses the incident, watches it and - with the help of a Hollywood effects artist, has to recreate the incident with an animatronic shark. Despite his horrifying attack, Ritter still goes on with his research, even going back onto the water (although not into the water) to do experiments with "bite meters" (which one shark simply eats whole), which leads to illustrations (with mechanical shark jaws) of what a shark can bite through.

Through all of the experiments and recreations, Ritter and the other people working with him learn about shark instincts, reactions, motivation and what could have happened had the person not acted in a certain way. Later in the program, we're shown other footage (and the footage included throughout the program is certainly disturbing, to warn those thinking about watching),including a Great White attack.

The documentary does provide some insight into the thought process of sharks. However, the piece does overdo it a bit with some of the visual techniques (are those strobe lights behind the mechanical shark?) and the documentary seems like it could have cut it down to around an hour. While I don't think anyone needs a program like this to know not to go near sharks, this program does start to give more insight into the creatures.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" is presented by Columbia/Tristar in 1.33:1 full-frame. The presentation looked about the same quality as what I would imagine broadcast quality would be on digital cable. Sharpness and detail were satisfactory, with most shots looking crisp and only a few looking slightly softer than the rest. Obviously, some footage was shot with different quality cameras, so image quality will vary.

Aside from some slight softness, the picture otherwise appeared mostly fine. Some minor shimmer was spotted on occasion, along with a couple of trace instances of pixelation. Colors appeared bright and vivid, with nice saturation and no smearing.

SOUND: The program is presented in Dolby 2.0. Dialogue, narration and general audio seemed crisp and well-recorded, with no concerns.

EXTRAS: A bonus "Shark Week" episode, "Future Shark", which is a more straightforward exploration of sharks than the main program. There's also a quiz and a Discovery Channel promo.

Final Thoughts: "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" will likely prove compelling for those fascinated by the creatures. The DVD offers some nice bonuses and fine audio/video quality. Recommended.

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