What if mermaids were real? Would they look like we've always imagined or would
they look just like us? That's the question that Showtime's Sea People
asks and answers in the same film.
Amanda is a junior high student faced with her father working out of town and
always being left at home alone. While taking her frustrations out on the closed
cannery where her father used to work, she happens to see an old man (Hume Cronyn)
climbing the bridge over the ocean. After he jumps in the water she follows
in an attempt to save him, only to discover that he didn't need saving at all.
The old man, Mr. McRae offers to take her back to his house to clean her up
and let her meet his wife. When she arrives she quickly assumes that things
aren't as they seem with the McRae's.
They act strangely with her and eat things like seaweed and drink a foul tasting
seaweed tea. She makes a surprise visit later in the week and finds the couple
submerged in separate tanks filled with seawater. Seemingly asleep, they do
not notice her hasty retreat. Later confrontations lead to understanding and
she becomes friends with these sea people-the men don't like being called mermaids.
The more she learns about their life and their culture, the more she applies
these things to her life. Her final, heartbreaking experience with the couple
teaches her a great lesson about life and about herself.
Similar in tone to a Disney film, this Showtime picture is similar to the previously
reviewed DVD Restless Spirits. They are both fairly standard teen-themed
dramas with all the demographic characters and problems filled out. Comparable
to a lengthy after-school-special, they transcend such mundane beginnings with
their touch of fantasy, and in this case the wonderful acting of Cronyn. Appropriate
for all ages, Sea People is a film that parents and children alike can
Video: The 4:3 presentation preserves the aspect used when broadcast
on television. Like most television films, the cinematography and lighting are
not up to feature film standards and the resulting picture is at times dull
and flat. Still, the film boasts several underwater scenes that come through
clear. Aside from an occasional spot of grain or imperfection, the transfer
is perfectly fine.
Audio: The Dolby surround mix is used only sparingly. The voices are
easily heard and the music, when present, isn't overpowering. There is nothing
amazing on the soundtrack because there doesn't need to be.
Extras: Made for TV, there are no extras on this disc with the exception
of four trailers for other similar films.
Overall: More engaging than the other film in the series, this well
acted coming of age tale is worth seeking out on Showtime or in the local DVD
rental store. Suitable for all ages, it touches of the fantastic make it an
entertaining film and worth watching.